Jesus and Covenant

Jesus and Covenant
With Fr. Lionel Goh, OFM
March 23-27, 2015
We begin our retreat in articulating that Vows is the deepening of the sacrament of baptism. It is the public and deeper pronouncement of our baptismal promises. Then we talked about the 3 stages of a traditional retreat which are the way of: (1) via purgativa or the way to acknowledging one’s sinfulness and unworthiness in the eyes of God (2) via illuminativa or the way of coming into light from darkness (3) via unitiva or the way to be reconcile and united with God. After that, Fr. Lionel led us in the deeper understanding of Covenant starting from the Hebrew Scriptures to Jesus. Fr. Lionel told us that the beginning of Covenant with God was the destruction of relationship as seen in the story of Adam and Eve.We also learned from him that sins begin with a question and a conversation with the devil. In Genesis chapter 3 we got to the whole dynamics and effects of the fall of first human being. Sins begins with a questions, starting a conversation with a devil, then doubts come in to confuse us and make us fall. The effects of sins are: (1) Stupidity-wrong choices (2) seeing the nakedness and worst in others (3) fear(4)blaming God and others:not taking responsibility for one’s action/choices/decisions. Then towards the end of the stroy, God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden of eden not us punishment for their sins but as an act of love (Genesis 3:22-24). Having understood the whole dynamics of sin from the Genesis 3, Fr. Lionel asked a very provoking questions for to reflect during the day: (1) Are we carrying a dialogue with the devil? (2) Is our action/choices out of love? (3) Are we making the right choices and matured enough to take responsibility for our choices? Or are we putting the blame to God and to others?On the following days we spoke about the dynamics of covenant which involve sacrifice, peace, meal and community. We reflected about the sacrifice that Abraham, Moses and Jesus had done out of love for their kinsfolk (Exodus 31:18; 32:1-6, 7:11-14; 15-24; Genesis 15:2-12; 29-30; Mark 14:22-25). Out of love for his kinsfolk, Moses broke the law so that they will not be punished. Sometimes it is necessary to break the law out of love and for love. Jesus breaks the social norms of his time out of love to protect the weak. Fr. Lionel made us understood that in every covenant there is always something to give up. It is always GIVE AND TAKE, NOTHING IS FREE OF CHARGE! With that in clear in our head he asked us to reflect on our personal sacrifices and the things that we need to give up for God? Then we are also asked to reflect passage in the letters to the Hebrew 10: 19-25; 32- 11:40, which tells us that in a faith community each person has its own role to play, gifted by God with a certain skills, personality and charism. Nobody are the same and yet has its own part to play in the history of salvation as narrated from Abraham to Jesus. We end our reflection with the agony of Jesus for knowing what he was giving up for our salvation. Jesus gave us his body and blood as a sign of God’s covenant for humanity. As followers of Jesus we are also called to be a covenantal people, a sign of God’s covenant: to give up something so that others may have life. Fr. Lionel made clear to us that ur formation must help us to get informed on the consequences of giving ourselves to God, form us in order to do something to make God’s love visible through our actions. We end our  five days retreat with a spiritual meal thanking God for all the blessings and with a festive meal thanking our sisters, brothers and associates for journeying with us! We also thank our new volunteer for celebrating with us.

written by Arlyne