Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Today’s Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 84: "How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, mighty God!"
Our first reading from Exodus directs our attention to the Dwelling that housed the Ark of the Covenant. The Dwelling was carefully constructed by Moses, and was considered a holy place.
In every Catholic church we have a tabernacle. The Blessed Sacrament is kept in the tabernacle. And reverently we genuflect to the Lord present there when we enter the church. The tabernacle is considered a very holy place.
However, there is some place holier than the Dwelling Moses built. There is some place holier than a tabernacle. And that "place" is the baptized Christian. St. Paul tells us, "Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you (1 Cor 3:16 )? "
A tabernacle may be made of gold and covered with diamonds. But it is still just a thing. It has no mind, no will, and no heart. It is not alive.
We are living tabernacles, with minds that can know truth, wills that choose good, and hearts that can love. What a wonder of creation and grace is the human person in whom God dwells. How lovely is the dwelling-place that is you!
St. Augustine said, "Those who are filled with love are filled with God." The people of the Old Testament had a cloud and fire that directed their journey through the desert. We of the New Testament have the words of Christ and grace of the Holy Spirit directing us on a journey of love. Filled with God, we advance with grateful hearts.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Sierra Madre, California.