The Ultimate Covenant- the Kingdom of God

Thursday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 31: 31-34; Mt 16: 13-23

By Deacon Larry Brockman


Lest we become too critical of Israel for breaking the covenant that the Lord made with them as we listen to the first reading, consider this:  Haven’t we broken our covenant with God as well?  Not just the covenant of Moses’ day, but rather, the New Covenant, the covenant promised in the New Testament? 


Jesus promised us Eternal life if we believed that He was the Savior.  That’s right, first we must really believe, and then we must follow after Jesus by using His example, the example left in the Gospel, the new way of living life, by first discerning and then doing the will of the Father, just like He, Jesus did.   


And yet, which of us is not guilty of failing to do all that?  In the Gospel, Jesus confirms in his talk with Peter and the disciples, straight up, that He is the Messiah.  And he also tells Him straight up, that by following the will of His Father, He, Jesus, will suffer at the hands of the Jewish leaders, and then die, be buried, and rise from the dead.  And what does his main man Peter do?  This man who is living right alongside the God made man, who tells Jesus that he believes He is the Messiah?  He doubts Him. He even rebukes Him for suggesting such a thing.     


How about us, are we any better than Peter?  How many times have we doubted, and not really believed?  Belief implies trust, forbearance, patience, and calmness whenever we are confronted with trials.  It means always knowing in our hearts, that is, believing with our hearts, that God is with us no matter what happens to us.  And there is something else that we need to believe as well.  Because if we believe that God is with us, and we bear up to whatever trials we are tested with, then we need to believe that the reward is great.  Jeremiah sums the reward up very well this way:  “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.  I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more”.   


Yes indeed, “after those days”, the days of our life on this earth, we shall all know Him, and our sins will be forgiven forever- such tremendous consolation, and such is our reward, to know God forever; to be in perfect harmony with Him; and to live happily with everyone else who is saved.  Amen! 

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2 Responses to “The Ultimate Covenant- the Kingdom of God”

  1. LERice says:

    Dear Deacon Larry,

    The last paragraph of your homily seems to be saying that Jer. 31:31-34 will be fulfilled after death in heaven. Agreed that there will be perfection in heaven that we do not have while in this life (St. Paul, in 1 Cor.13:12, says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.” and 1 Cor. 2:9, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”) but aren’t those things that Jeremiah speaks of fulfilled in the New Testament and in the lives of believers? In this life the believer does know God and that God gives the believer a new heart (Ezek. 36:26-28). The intimacy of knowing God is through the relationship of Jesus Christ, by receiving Him and receiving the Holy Spirit. Rev. 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Evangelicals say that the longest journey is from the head to the heart. Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God…”St. Paul says In Philippians 3:8, “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” In Hebrews 10, St. Paul makes reference to Jer. 31:33-34, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

  2. Larry Brockman says:


    Most Bible scholars interpret Jeremiah’s prediction as the New Covenant as
    well. I certainly recognize that. I have, as you said, suggested that the
    later part of that prophecy refers to the Kingdom of God, which is
    ultimately fulfilled after we die. The reasons I chose that interpretation
    were the references to “forgiveness forever” and “no longer will they have
    need to teach their friends and kinsman how to know the Lord” ; and the term
    “after those days”. Indeed, in the New Covenant in which we live, we still
    have need to teach our kinsman and friends how to know the Lord; we continue
    to sin until the day we die, so our sins are not all yet forgiven forever;
    and the term “after those days” led me to the conclusion that there was an
    “after” period.

    I know that this is not totally conventional, but it is an extension of the
    New Testament interpretation in the sense that the Kingdom of God is now,
    and as such, is part of the New Covenant; and Jesus preached that message
    often. It’s just that the Kingdom of God goes on forever, and we cannot be
    assured of eternal life in it till after we die. But this reading, it seems
    to me, speaks of an ultimate Kingdom where everyone believes, everyone is on
    the same page, and nobody needs to be instructed- and so the reading speaks
    of Heaven.

    All of your references to the process by which the law of God becomes
    written into our hearts, and that this process is an integral part of what
    is different between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, certainly are
    meaningful and well thought out. It’s just that I get more out of the
    Jeremiah prophecy than that. The promise of everlasting life in the Kingdom
    of God is what I viewed as the ultimate reward. That was my point.

    If you were to read on (v. 38), you would see another prophecy about an
    expanded Jerusalem. Indeed, Jerusalem and Mount Zion are two images often
    considered predictors of the ultimate Kingdom, a kingdom that transcends
    either of the covenants, since it is the fulfillment of them. So Old
    Testament prophecies often include visions of the afterlife.

    God Bless,

    Deacon Larry Brockman

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