Brothers, it is clear in today’s first reading that the radiance emanating from the skin of Moses’ face arose from his experience of a unique and most intimate conversation with God. We know that what God and Moses were talking about was the covenant to be established between Yahweh and His chosen people Israel, represented by Moses. A man, proposing marriage to the woman he loves, can be seen with something like this radiance in his face. His luminous expression is evidence of a joy: essentially the discovery of a profound and mysterious agreement of two wills: the freedom of two persons complimenting, enlarging and completing one another in a covenant of love. But the covenant between Yahweh and Israel is a mystery of grace far beyond any marriage of a man and a woman. Israel’s marriage with God, the Creator of Heaven and earth; the loving, firm and tender care with which God addresses his chosen people, all this is something undreamed of in the history of religion. There is, strictly speaking, no precedent to the covenant entered into by God the Heavenly Father and the people represented by Abraham and Moses.
Now, why would the church be offering us this reading in the context of our celebration of mass this morning except to inspire wonder at how far the New Covenant established by the shedding of God’s blood for our sins, surpasses the Old Covenant? What the first covenant established by law and ordinance, the New Covenant perfects in grace: that grace which is God’s own life poured out for us under the signs of blood and water issuing from Christ’s wounded side. What covenant could approach in beauty and power that which is established by God laying down His life for us in the Sacrifice of his Son? In the eucharist, this same sacrifice is offered by the priest to God in the words of consecration and all who participate prayerfully are offered the possibility of a human existence transformed by the gift of God’s perfect mercy and forgiveness. At this mass, we pray that our communion with our Lord in this sacrifice make our hearts radiant with joy and our faces bright with realization of who God is revealed to be in the New Covenant established by the death and resurrection of His Son.
Fr Alberic Farbolin