THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for February 10th, 2014
Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin
Liturgical texts here
WHAT religion makes such claims as ours? What faith is there that is so intimate, so accessible, that reaches to the very core of our desires, other than Christianity? God dwells in Heaven; but God became man so that man could dwell in Heaven and God could dwell in man. This is insanely wonderful! This is why I always say to my brothers and sisters who are hurting and feel God has abandoned them: where can God go? He is everywhere. Furthermore, He is in you.
Other religions center their worship toward a god who is “out there”, a god who is “up there”, a god who is “over there.” But the baptized Christian says, I worship a God who is within. This is not the mistaken error of New Agers who speak of “the christ” within, as though they themselves are the divine and merely progressing to a higher consciousness. No! Christians say “we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” cf. 2 Cor 4:7 This treasure we hold is the glory of God, and God himself. We see it prefigured in today’s first reading:
When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD… the LORD’s glory had filled the temple of the LORD. Then Solomon said, “The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud; I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever.”
The temple is symbolic of our bodies.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God…? (1 Cor 6:19)
The “darkness” of the cloud is symbolic of our human nature, our darkened reason and frailty of the will. cf. Matt 26:41 And yet, God comes to us precisely in this way for a reason:
My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)
This is the love story of today’s Gospel: God comes to lift us out of our weakness, brokenness, and pain. Even though Jesus and the Apostles are running on fumes, Jesus continually comes to the people who come to Him. They…
…begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.
Who is as great as our God? Who is as loving and merciful as Jesus? This is the very heart of the Good News: God loves us so much that He has come to us, just like us, to be in us. We can touch his tassel… we can touch Him.
My eight-year-old son approached me the other day, his face serious and a question on his lips. “Dad, if Jesus is good, and all He wants to do is love us, why don’t people want that?” I looked at him and said, “Well, because Jesus loves people so much, He calls them out of the sin that is hurting them. But some people love their sin more than they want to love God.” He looked at me processing what I said. But it made no sense to him. “But dad, if Jesus only wants to make people happy, why wouldn’t they want that?” Yes, I could see that an eight year old perceived what philosophers, scientists, and intellects of our day cannot. I am reminded of the grandson of Thomas Huxley, who was Charles Darwin’s colleague, who said:
I suppose the reason we leaped at the origin of species was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores. —Whistleblower, February 2010, Volume 19, No. 2, p. 40.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man… Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies… (Rom 1:22-24)
And what a terrible exchange it is! A few fleeting moments of pleasure for the presence of eternal joy!
Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? (2 Cor 13:5)
The trade of God’s Word for human words.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. (John 14:23)
The loss of the supernatural for the temporal!
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20)
This is the Good News that we need to shout from the rooftops! God wants to make you His temple so that He may dwell in you, and you in Him. In this way, eternal life enters into the temporal, and one begins to experience and know God now—a knowing that will explode in glory once one has lived this life in abiding friendship with Him.
Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. —BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas, n. 1
Waste no time then, reader! Make your heart God’s resting place, the place of encounter with the Holy Trinity…
Let us enter into his dwelling, let us worship at his footstool. Advance, O LORD, to your resting place… (today’s Psalm, 132)
- Have you read the latest Spiritual Food for Thought? Evangelize, not Proselytize
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