Herod rebuilt the temple using huge stones weighing between two thousand and fifty thousand pounds apiece; engineered fifteen stories tall, so precisely fit that no mortar was necessary. Each stone was seated a half inch back from the face of the one beneath it to both stabilize it and avoid the optical illusion that the wall would appear to be falling over on to a viewer looking up from its base. The inner walls were sheathed in marble and gold and adorned with precious stones and costly gifts, which projected the sense of majesty felt by onlookers.
Lord, I wish I could have walked with you through the temple. To see the holy monument Herod reconstructed to demonstrate his piousness and political power. And while dazzled by the beauty and wonder of this majestic construct, hearing You predict that it would be so completely destroyed that not one stone would be left standing on another. I would have looked skeptically at the massive stones and wondered how this prediction could possibly come true.
Would I have believed my eyes or your words, Lord? Is my faith subject to the same incredulous doubt of St Thomas, who arrogantly insisted that he would not believe St Peter, Mary of Magdala, or any of the other apostles unless he personally could inspect Your wounds? Peter expressed his faith in You even before Your crucifixion. When questioned about his willingness to stay with You, he said, “Where would we go Lord? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6: 68-71) That is the faith I pray for; to know and love You so strongly that I never doubt You.
Saint and Bishop, Richard of Chichester, in the 13th century composed a prayer, the words of which we have become familiar with.
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly
Day by Day.
Ray Alonzo is the father of three children, grandfather of two, and husband to Jan for over 45 years. He is a USN Vietnam Veteran, and a 1969 graduate of Mother of Good Counsel Passionist Prep Seminary. Ray currently serves on the Passionist Alumni Council.