God to Abraham: “My Covenant with you is this.”
In Scripture a covenant is a sacred unbreakable bond between parties that makes them family and is sealed with blood sacrifice. It is binding on the parties even if one is not faithful to it. Covenants provide us with a powerful lens with which to see in the Scriptures God breaking through to humanity in stubborn, determined love. After the sin of Adam and Eve and expulsion form the garden of Eden:
- He makes a covenant with the first couple promising future redemption.
- After the great flood, God makes a covenant with the family of Noah.
- Next He makes a covenant with a tribe, Abraham, and the promise that he will become father to a host of nations.
- Then with Moses on Sinai, He makes a covenant with a whole nation, the Children of Israel.
- Then with King David and Solomon, He makes a covenant with a host of nations.
- Then the ultimate covenant which fulfills all the others extends the covenant to include all humanity. Jesus at the Last Supper says: “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal Covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”
In our Baptism we enter the covenant with the Lord, and we renew it at every Eucharist. However, the Eucharist of covenant renewal is not available for most Catholics during this time of social distancing and mandatory stay-at-home orders. Our world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus.
At times like these in the past when people have felt a crushing powerlessness, the People of God have found hope, help and even miraculous healing through the intercession of the saints. The saints can remind us that we are not facing this crisis alone; we have the Lord and his inspiring saints who stand ready to intercede for all who call upon them in friendship.
Also, allow me to introduce to you a singularly appropriate saint for this difficult moment: Saint Corona, Patroness of Epidemics. She witnessed the martyrdom of her good friend and Roman soldier, Saint Victor, executed by his brothers-in-arms for refusing to deny Christ. While Victor was undergoing martyrdom, Corona boldly uttered words of comfort and encouragement to him. Victor’s persecutors then turned on 16 year-old Corona and took her life for refusing to deny Christ.
As the coronavirus visits such physical and emotional damage upon all of us, Saint Corona gives us an opportunity to lean into our faith and cling to hope no matter the turmoil around us.
I end with this prayer for you and your families from Crisis magazine, which I have slightly adapted:
Lord Jesus Christ, you came into this world to establish a saving covenant with your people. Look kindly on us now, we pray, that we and all who serve you, might be kept safe from this pandemic.
Heal those who are sick, comfort the suffering, strengthen the caregivers of body and spirit, and above all, increase our faith and trust in you, O Lord.
Give us the grace to follow You, and, Like Saint Corona, who gave her life for love of You, give us the strength to take up our crosses daily without fear or hesitation.
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Mother Mary, Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, protector of the Family, pray for us!
Saint Corona, Patroness of epidemic victims, pray for us!
Venerable Patrick Peyton, pray for us and all our families!
Saint John Paul II, pray for us! Amen.
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Copyright 2020 Fr. Willy Raymond, C.S.C.