In today's first reading, the people of Israel rededicated the house of God, the Temple, with a spirit of holiness and joy. God's house was filled with prayer and rejoicing (1 Mc 4:54ff). First, however, they had to empty it of unholiness (1 Mc 4:43ff).
A mere two centuries later, the people of God, and particularly their leaders, treat the house of God not much differently than the marketplace which surrounds it. God's house and its environs are full of commerce and busy-ness. Jesus had to empty the Temple of merchants and animals and fill it with teaching and prayer (Lk 19:45ff).
Most of us belong to parishes with a church building less than two centuries old. When first constructed, these church buildings were dedicated and blessed, undoubtedly with joy and a measure of holiness. Years after the dedication, how do our churches compare with the Temple of Jesus' time? Have we filled the house of God with unholiness, busy-ness, and commerce, either through the hearts of the people or the actions of the leaders? Do we still treat the house of God, the church building where Jesus dwells in the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament, as a place of prayer? Have we fallen from our first love? (Rv 2:4) After beginning in the Spirit, will the people of our church end at the level of the flesh? (Gal 3:3)
Jesus wants His house to be full of prayer (Lk 14:23). Repent of any behavior or attitude which fosters the decline of prayer in church, and lead the way in filling the house of God with prayer.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2013 through November 30, 2013.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 22, 2013.