Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus, the high priest of the New Covenant, asks the Father to give eternal life to his followers.

But whereas the ordinary high priests of the Old Testament passed through the veil into the earthly holy of holies and offered an inadequate sacrifice, the perfect high priest passed into the heavenly sanctuary, bearing the sins of the world and bringing forth the divine forgiveness: “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be . . . he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

The letter to the Hebrews makes the explicit connection between sacrifice and covenant: “For this reason, he [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant . . . [that] those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” Through the final sacrifice of Jesus the high priest, eternal life has been made available to the whole of humanity and the covenant thereby realized beyond the wildest fantasies of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, or David.