Jeremiah (31:31-34), knows that the relationship to God has been ruptured. The people are not living in harmony with God. The ever-faithful God promises a new covenant. The new covenant will not be written on stone. It will be written on the fleshy hearts of people. They will know God and God’s ways. They will live in union with and in harmony with the Creator.
Looking back on what Jeremiah was saying to the distraught people of Judah, we can fast forward to the new covenant which will be written on the hearts of all people regardless of nationality. As our concept of God evolves, we have come to realize that God is the God of all nations. All are welcome in the kin-dom of Jesus. God will create a new heart in every person.
Often when we talk about dialogue and settling differences nonviolently, someone will counter, “That’s fine but not all people have good intentions.” Unfortunately, they miss the point. God, not people, will make all things new. We have to trust in the nonviolent God and not rely on our own strength and military might. Communion and solidarity will come through suffering (Heb 5:7-9). It is with the loud cries and moans of faithful obedience (hearing and being faithful to God’s word) that Jesus brings us into union with God and one another. We are called to suffer to bring about the kin-dom.
Jesus’ time is drawing near (Jn 12:20-33). We know how we feel when we have worked hard and seem to have failed. Imagine Jesus’ pain and consternation. He had come preaching the word of Abba God. He proclaimed liberty for captives and freedom for the oppressed. He healed the sick and gave sight to the blind. Often, he poured himself out completely and had to retreat into solitude to recharge his batteries. Amid the business of his life, he always sought to deepen his relationship with Abba God.
As the Lenten readings bring us closer to Good Friday, Jesus knows he is on a collision course with empire. He knows that what he has proclaimed threatens the very foundations of empire and yet he turns his face resolutely toward Jerusalem and the cross that awaits him. He will not call on God to save him from his hour because he knows that the faithful obedience of a nonviolent response to the radical violence of empire is the way. He knows that to be the truth which gives life.
By his death, he will overcome sin and death. He has overcome sin and death. We have new life in Jesus. Paradise has been restored. We ought to start living accordingly. We are not people of missiles. We are people of the Missal. We are not people of the bomb. We are people of the Book. We are not people of hate. We are people of love. We are not people of greed. We are people of charity. We are not people of law. We are people of justice.