Covenant in the Jordan

Why Do We Want To Believe Mary Magdalene Was A Prostitute? - HistoryExtra

More of my baptism lecture notes…

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The “sprinkled water” (Ez. 36:25), the nuptial bath (Ez. 16:9f) of baptism introduces us into a new, everlasting and universal covenant, that irrevocable binding between God and all humanity sealed in Christ (Song 8:6), who in his risen Body tellingly said to Mary Magdalene: “I am going to my Father and your Father, my God and your God” (Jn. 20:17). This is the language of covenant, spoken to a woman who, in John’s Gospel, mystically represents sinful-redeemed humanity. This weeping woman, “Mary” (20:13-16), is the Bride of the Gardener Bridegroom. Christ himself is the new covenant, the indestructible cleaving of God to man and of man to God (Jer. 13:11!). Hypostatic union=covenant union. The intimacy and totality of this nuptial covenant shapes our experience of prayer, where each says to the other: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song 6:3). The word “covenant” is a dense theological term, containing the whole of what God has done for us — all of “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). But our covenant has a universal destination. Like Israel, the Church hears the voice of God address her: “I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations” (Is. 42:6). Baptism is not simply for ourselves. Rather, we “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27) in order to clothe the shameful nakedness of humanity. To extend covenant riches to all. To serve as “a sacramental sign and an instrument of intimate union with God, and of the unity of the whole human race” (LG #1). Everywhere the Church is planted, she reconciles, mends, heals, seeking to overcome all discord and build unity. The Church is catholic “the whole,” as it bears within itself the whole of God and the whole of humanity. She lives in closest solidarity with every aspect of life in the world, as “the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (GS #1). But when the Church becomes self-referential, she becomes sick. “The evils that, over time, occur in ecclesiastical institutions have their root in self-referentiality, a kind of theological narcissism” (Pope Francis). The Church heralded the first truly global vision of a trans-national, ethnic, racial and linguistic unity, grounded in the unity of God. Born of the unity of God, she alone is able, in principle, to hold in tension the immensely wild diversity of all things (Jn. 12:32; Eph. 4:6-7). Catholic is a volatile word, but that tension is creative, not destructive. Only when its members seek holiness does catholicity foster creativity in the quest for unity. Only when faithful are held together by an apostolic chain that binds us to Christ. As baptism joins us to Christ’s faithful covenant promise, Christians should shine brightest of all as promise keepers in a world of shattered promises…

…So then, stop lying to each other, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you (Eph. 4:25-32).

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