Monday, February 8, 2016

A House for His Glory

A Homily for Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time.

When encountering the numinous, Rudolph Otto once wrote, the only thing we can do is bow, bow very low and fall to the earth in worship and awe.  

Thus they sought God’s glory, erecting a Shekinah, a tabernacle, a smoke-filled tent where the gold-plated Ark of God’s presence was enthroned beneath cherubim wings.  

But that wasn’t enough for David or Solomon who built a temple of stone and cedar and gold, whose consecration we attended in the first reading today. They brought sheep too many to count, they brought sacred vessels of the finest gold and, finally, the Ark from the first temple and the tent.  They enthroned it and burnt incense until the cloud [once again] filled the temple of the LORD” so that in the Priest ever and encounter God’s glory.

And then, in the fulness of time, came the Sacrifice of Calvary, the source and summit of our salvation, where at the moment of the death which would destroy all death, the curtain across the Holy of Holies was rent in two, from top to bottom, and God became Emmanuel, dwelling not in a house of marble and gold, but in his Risen Body.

So where do we, the sons of Abraham and David, now find God’s glory?

Saint Leo the Great teaches us that the glory which was “visible [in the Risen Body] of our Savior has passed over into the sacraments” of his mystical body, the Church.  Thus in this earthy liturgy, what we do with bread and wine and candles and cross and words and chants this morning, is a share in “that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims,”

Here, we encounter the numinous, the glory of the unseen God.  Here we partake of the Perfect Sacrifice which is our life and our hope, bowing very low, in worship and in awe.