Orthodox Mission – Hyde Park, Chicago

Covenant and Betrayal

Christ shows us the new covenant. This covenant takes all the commandments, all sacrifice, the temple, God and all humanity in one, and puts this wonder in front of us. Christ’s humility: He Who Is, the Creator of water and all the elements washes the dirty feet of his disciples. Just like the woman; who tradition assumes must have been a great penitent because she goes to the extreme of wiping his feet with her hair. Let us be that completely poured out, and emptied as the woman, who knows what it means to follow the Master. She does not hold anything back. In the Gospel of John it is Mary the sister of Lazarus. Like Lazarus, she has already died, if not in body, then in spirit, so that she can stand with Christ at the Cross. This is our covenant, to be called from the stench of our selfishness and preoccupations, to die and rise with Christ.

The Betrayal is to reckon up the value of Christ. Because of one emotion or another, a love of pleasure, pursuit of fame or career, we hold back and value everything around Christ, and Christ himself. Maybe we ‘study,’ think of ourselves as disciples. But we know what price Christ has in our lives, the price of a slave—how can he serve me? How can I exchange him for all that is nearer to my heart? What association with Christ will cause us to reject him, even while the Church rings out the cock-crow of its hymns? This is our betrayal.

But sisters and brothers, let die now. We are supposed to have done that in baptism, and not rebuilt the old Adam. Like the one being illumined in baptism, let us be with Christ, be in Him. Do you unite yourself to Christ? Have you united yourself to Christ? I have united myself to Christ. Let us stand at his Cross, and worship Him as God, hearing the Gospels tell us of his saving Passion.