Homily for Thursday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: The Lord shows his presence in his Holy Temple.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Thursday August 1 2019
READINGS: Exodus 40: 16-21.34-38, Ps. 84, Matthew 13: 47-53
It is a fact that the Lord is found everywhere and cannot be restricted in one particular place. Yet the Lord chooses to make himself available in a very special manner at some special place dedicated solely to him in a very special manner. This is why the Lord ordered with clear description the erection of the Ark of the Covenant. In that Ark he specified the things that should be found there that would represent or attract his presence. The image of the Seraphs and the Cherubs were ordered by God to be put with particular wood and measurements; the book of the covenant was also commanded to be kept there. These items or materials were chosen by God to signify something of his image and meaning. Following the instructions of the Lord and fixing them as the Lord commanded Moses, he made himself a home. He encamped or incarnated in them and made his presence visibly felt.
This is why we have the Tent of Meeting where the Lord made himself available in a special way for easy access for the people to behold him and to meet with him. This is why we have the Temples and Synagogues as places where the Lord has made himself available in an extraordinary manner. Today such places are like the Churches, the Chapels, grottos and Holy images. So it would be wrong for anybody to say that God forbade himself to be represented in images. It was God who gave Moses the instructions and the things to be used to signify and attract his presence. It was same God who asked Moses to make an image of the snake and put it on a stand so that those people who with faith look at the image on the tree after the biting of the snake shall be healed by the power and intervention of God. It was not actually the image that healed them in itself but the signification of the image; what the image stands for and what is seen by looking beyond the physical.
Beloved, the House of the Lord or places built for the purpose of worship must be respected as such and carried with every dignity it represents. It is important from what issued in the first reading today for Christians to note and take to heart that the place meant for worship with blessed and holy images must be seen as holy. We must accord holiness to them because they have been dedicated and consecrated to be holy. We must remember that even after the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple after the exilic period, God promised and made the glory to be more than what the first was. The act of consecration and dedication of a place for the purpose of worship and for God alone must be respected as such. We cannot forget that God asked Moses to remove his shoes at the burning bush for the land that he stood was holy.
Beloved, if the houses built by human hands can be made holy to arouse the presence of God and make his glory manifest, what more the temple in man made by God himself? This is why St Paul made us know that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and asked us never to defile it. If we make the temple in us to be holy and consecrate it to God and dedicate it for the praise of God, we would feel his holy presence and behold his glory in a very clear manner. The presence of the clouds by day and pillar of fire by nights showed the presence of God. When we respect the temple of the Lord and keep it consecrated, each time we enter there we shall behold his presence and become enriched spiritually. The act of doing this would attract the reign of God’s kingdom in us. Our lives must be like the net that has gathered desired fish that would be sorted out as needed. We must live our lives like those who would be judged on the last day. And so we must enter our inner temple daily and often with serenity and respect and then worship God in his Holy temple that is inside us. If the inside temple is rotten and disrespected, there is no amount of staying in the presence of the man made temple that would give us divine glory. The inner must suit and be as good as the external for us to attract God’s presence and glory.
We pray that we may cherish the presence of God and see his dwelling pace as lovely and that we may long and yearn for the house of the Lord and desire to live in his holy place. May the Lord grant us the grace to sing forever the praise of God in our inner temple, Amen.
HAPPY NEW MONTH
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf