We open the liturgical year with two Sundays during which we prepare ourselves for a great celebration. The first Sunday of the liturgical year is the consecration of the church which took place last week. In the second Sunday of the liturgical year (this week), we focus on the renewal of the church.
The renewal of the church is a celebration of a new covenant, that is Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity.
(“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.) Luke 22:19-20
The old covenant was with Abraham, who heard the voice of God telling him that he should sacrifice his only son. When God saw Abraham’s commitment to the faith, as Abraham had followed God’s command, he was told to sacrifice an animal instead of his son. This covenant was renewed with Jesus, who came to save us through his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Through the birth and death of our Lord, the church is renewed.
“The cup and bread. Great and awesome Sacrifice! Sinners, come receive the flesh and blood of Christ for the pardon of your sins.” – Entrance Hymn for the Consecration and Renewal of the Church.
How is the renewal of the church relevant to our lives today?
Much like how Abraham heard the voice of God and committed himself to the faith, we too must reflect, pray and meditate, to hear God speaking to us. We are called to reflect on our individual lives this week, renewing our faith and contemplating the parts of our lives that we would like to change and make better. For example, taking up daily prayer, helping with the community or examining your conscience in preparation for confession. These are a few of many suggestions for you to renew your spiritual life.
Just as the old covenant is renewed and a new covenant is formed, we as Maronite’s must strive to renew our faith and spiritual lives. Our goal is to be better Christians, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, friends and teachers. We do this by examining the current state of our lives, whether it be at our homes, in the workplace, or out in public, and seeking the voice of God to guide us, as individuals and as a collective of Christians into a new and positive liturgical year.