Today is Thursday 4th August, the feast of St John Mary Vianney.
The monks of Pluscarden Abbey sing the Benedictus: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel! He has visited his people and redeemed them. He has raised up for us a mighty saviour in the house of David his servant, as he promised by the lips of holy men, those who were his prophets from of old. A saviour who would free us from our foes, from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our ancestors is fulfilled and his holy covenant remembered. He swore to Abraham our father to grant us, that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes, we might serve him in holiness and justice all the days of our life in his presence.”
Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel; quia visitavit et fecit redemptionem plebis suae
et erexit cornu salutis nobis, in domo David pueri sui,
sicut locutus est per os sanctorum, qui a saeculo sunt, prophetarum eius,
salutem ex inimicis nostris, et de manu omnium, qui oderunt nos;
ad faciendam misericordiam cum patribus nostris, et memorari testamenti sui sancti,
iusiurandum, quod iuravit ad Abraham patrem nostrum, daturum se nobis,
ut sine timore, de manu inimicorum nostrum liberati, serviamus illi
in sanctitate et iustitia coram ipso omnibus diebus nostris.
Et tu, puer, propheta Altissimi vocaberis: praeibis enim ante faciem Domini parare vias eius,
ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi eius in remissionem peccatorum eorum,
per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri, in quibus visitabit nos oriens ex alto,
illuminare his, qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent, ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.
Today’s reading is from the book of Jeremiah.
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the LORD’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
One way of thinking about the relationship between God and human beings is in terms of “covenant”. An agreement that we shall be his people, and he will be our God. What does that way of understanding things suggest about your own relationship with God?
The Bible gives many examples of that covenant being broken. After a while, the people don’t want to relate to God in this way any more. Can you see times when that has been true in your own life?
God promises here, however, to forgive those who turn away from him. When have you known what it’s like to experience that kind of forgiveness?
As you listen to this passage for a second time, notice the kind of new relationship that God is offering.
As someone who does enjoy this renewed and deepened relationship with the Lord, speak freely to him about whatever is in your mind and in your heart just now.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.