Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Sanctuary Calling

Yes, we continue to use the "sermon" to the Hebrews from St. Paul for our reflection today.  It is the feast of St. John Bosco.  But this reflection will focus on Paul's thinking and spirituality.  There are a few scriptural understandings that may help your prayer as they have helped mine over the years.  Before addressing them we should read this section of Chapter 10 reflectively and peacefully.  There is much we can gain from these six verses.   They are a call to remain faithful in our daily struggles to be faithful followers of Jesus even whn our society produces strong challenges to the contrary.  Can each of us list these challenges?  It is one way to come face-to-fac with who each of us really is?  What are the issues that seem to drop trees across our faith journey?  What "things" and/or "people" block us from being able to enjoy the loving embrace of God?

"We have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary."  Yes, we do!  And repeat that sentence with much confiidece yoruself, dear reader.  However, do you know what Paul means by using the word "sanctuary"?  This is what he meant:  being in God's presence.  Sanctuaries in sacred buildings almost always have signified a space where God is present.  And yes, regardless of my or your past personal sins, we can live confident we can be with God in this life and the life to come.  How so?  Through what Paul has been saying throughout this chapter: through the self-sacrifice of Jesus.  Also we must know that Jesus is the "veil: tdhrough which we enter the presence of God.  The OT High Priest was privileged once each year to walk through the veil (curtains) that separated the Holy of Holies" from those who came into the temple.

Today, however, it is no longer the High Priest (!) who is allowed to enter into GOd's presence.  Today the Church teaches that it is all the baptized who can pass through that separating curtain over and over again.  We do this each time we enter a church where the Blessed Sacrament is present not just for the baptized but for all people who come into the presence of Jesus -- hopefully more than once each year.

Paul calls us to "approach  with a sincere heart and in absolut trust."  Absolute trust!  This is a thought for a future reflection ... hopefully during the upcoming season of Lent.  Paul concludes this section with a few practical suggestions.  Read carefully and, if you have time,  (another writing assignment!!) list the several pracitces he enumerates  as ways we can make real our love for God -- then come to a deeper awareness of how much God loves us.