The updated, more faithful-to-the-original-Latin translation of the Mass in the English language is a blessing. One change specifically has made an impact. Changing from “new and everlasting covenant” to “new and eternal covenant” deepens one’s understanding of what Jesus accomplished.
A new and everlasting covenant sounds just great as it goes, but a new and eternal covenant evokes a connotation that is both paradoxical and mystical.
God had repeatedly tried new covenants and they all fell short, not because of any deficiency on his part. We were always the party not up to the task, so to speak. But then Jesus comes and is more than up to the task of making a new covenant that will not need to be renewed–because it will not get old!
What’s more, if Jesus is the eternally begotten Son of the Father, then he has been in, and is in, an eternal covenant relationship with the Father. Jesus Christ brings us into this eternal covenant, which is really eternally new, as it will never have an element of oldness to it. “Behold, I make all things new.”
As new as a bush that is burning yet not consumed. As new as a Church that begins as tongues of fire on the branches of the one true Vine and two millenia later remains joined to that Vine against all earthly odds.
This is not just an everlasting covenant. It’s rooted deep in the Trinity itself. To enter into that covenant by joining oneself to Christ is to have a bond with God that has the character of the eternal bond between the Three in One.
To us, this eternal covenant is altogether new and altogether gratuitous. What an absolute gift beyond price!