Submitted by Ken Boccino on Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:42am
I struggled with this reading, as I often do with the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament is arbitrary and capricious, and sometimes vengeful. This passage is fairly tame, but still it features God changing the rules and singling out one small tribe for special treatment.
After reflection, I came to understand that the “new covenant” is embodied by Jesus Christ. Perhaps it should have been obvious, given that the passage is assigned as a meditation for Advent, the season when we wait for the coming of Christ.
This brings us to the New Testament, when Jesus, and particularly Paul, will broaden the message beyond the house of Israel. There will be less emphasis on punishment, and more on redemption: “I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.” The law will not be imposed capriciously from above, but rather, “I will write it on their hearts.”