Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In the House!

In the two readings for today's liturgy and substance for personal reflection, there is at first hearing or reading, I believe, a challenge to see a relationship between the two.  After some time looking at the two scenes as presented by the author of the Book of Exodus and the gospel of St. Matthew, I came upon two words in Matthew's recollections that helped me understand a bridge.  Matthew wrote that Jesus and his disciples went to "the house."  From Matthew's writings it seems that we can surmises that there was a particular house where Jesus and his apostles would gather, presumably for prayer and for private lessons.  In the first reading, the Exodus author speaks to us about "the tent" where Moses would find time with Yahweh.

What might be a thought for consideration is this:  often times here and elsewhere finding time alone with God is a frequent reminder.  It is in those moments when we separate ourselves from the day-to-day realities with the purpose of "meeting" with God that we encounter in unique ways presence of God with us, God speaking to our hearts and soul.

The Exodus portrayal of the "tent" where Moses would meet with Yahweh became a symbol of a "specially designed and constructed place".  A travel throughout Europe and in many American churches reveals the desires of architects, Bishops and Pastor as well as Parishioners to create a place of magnificence for the Presence of God.  At the same time, however, do not forget the words of scripture which tell us to go into a room of our homes to converse with God.  Scripture is teaching us that it is each individual who is the true temple of God.  It is within our minds and hearts that we encounter the divine.

A visit to a cloistered monastery's community chapel or church will reveal the unique sense the religious who live at the monastery possess about the space.  It is sacred space for them.  Simplicity is the characteristic that stands out.  For these religious prayer is between themselves and God.  There is no amassing of statuary (usually there are no statues in these chapels).  A candle burns near a tabernacle and a second candle burns near an opened bible.  For the monks and nuns who live cloistered life, in their hearts they speak with the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus Christ and the Word of God within the written words of the Bible.

Today's readings bring us to consider what we have made of the "house" we go to when we want to be with God, when we want to listen for his Word, when we seek to learn from him his never-ending care and love for us despite our sinfulness.  Always remember:  it is within "the house" that God welcomes us, especially when we know that we are sinners.

[Photo:  Prodigal Son, located in Soley Plaza, Jesus the Divine Word Parish, Huntingtown, MD]