Thursday, January 14, 2010

Covenant Relationship with God 1 - 14 -2010

Often we hear or think about "my relationship with God." But say or think this to yourself this morning: "my covenant relationship with God." Do the two mean the same to you or is there a genuine difference?

Change of heart is the key to any covenant between God and anyone. Throughout both Old and New Testament we encounter moments when God seems to "take it out" on some of his people. The first reading for today's Eucharist liturgy speaks about the terrible defeat suffered by the people of Israel at the hands of the Philistines. It seems that God is quite annoyed with his people. In the gospel reading for the liturgy, we encounter the leper who came to Jesus asking to be cured. His is granted his request.

Change of heart! What is the difference in the two stories? Think about "my relationship with God" and "my covenant relationship with God." Recall also that we have Jesus saying to the people on different occasions that it is not the externals that count. It is a change of heart. He asks his followers to practice mercy not make externals so important. Again, it's about change of heart.

How do I fulfill the promises of my Baptism? How do I live out the gifts of Holy Communion? How strong am I in fulfilling my pledges made during my Confirmation? Lastly, how meaningful was my last Act of Contrition? Just saying words in any devotional manner have a place in our lives. They are like the exercises that build the spiritual muscles. However, it is the determination, the change of heart, that enables the continued dedication to those exercises and the pledges and promises made.

The challenge before us today is that we not allow devotional practices substitute for a genuine living out of my covenant relationship with God. When God seems to be absent for one's life, a question is important: "What has happened to my covenant relationship with God?"

By this paragraph you might be asking "Just what is the meaning of covenant relationship with God?" Simply this: I sincerely make the effort to live the promises I have made to God. I realize this is really most important in my relationship with God. From the simplicity of childhood to the complexities of adult life, it is a true change of heart to live as God asks of us that is a response to the Ten Commandments, to the Laws of our Church and especially the voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.