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Thursday, July 30, 2009

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St. Peter Chrysologus

Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Psalm 84:3-6, 8-11
Matthew 13:47-53

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in his presence

"Then the cloud covered the meeting tent, and the glory of the Lord filled the Dwelling." —Exodus 40:34

In the Old Testament, Moses pitched a tent for God (Ex 40:18-19). In the New Testament, God became a human being and pitched His own tent (Jn 1:14 in the original Greek). Therefore, in the New Testament we have a much greater opportunity to be deeply and intimately in the presence of God.

In the Old Testament, the focal point of God's presence moved. To stay centered on God's presence, the Israelites had to move every time the cloud which hovered over God's tent moved (Ex 40:36). In the New Testament, God's presence is so strong that we don't have to follow the cloud. Instead, as witnesses to Jesus, we are the cloud (see Heb 12:1). We are immersed in God's presence, which is immersed in us. He lives in us and we live in Him (Jn 6:56). The curtain between us and the sanctuary has been torn open by Jesus on Calvary (Mt 27:51). We are in the Holy of Holies. Our prayers rise like incense into God's throne (Rv 5:8). We are citizens of heaven, and from there we await Jesus' final coming (Phil 3:20).

Many Christians are surprised to hear that God's presence on earth is so strong and that we already experience in some way God's heavenly presence. Many people, even Christians, feel far away from God. To change this, "draw close to God, and He will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts" (Jas 4:8). When we repent and are purified, our awareness of God's presence will be restored.

Prayer:  Father, may I be always aware of Your presence.

Promise:  "Every scribe who is learned in the reign of God is like the head of a household who can bring from his storeroom both the new and the old." —Mt 13:52

Praise:  St. Peter Chrysologus preached, "He has made you in His image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on Earth."

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 5, 2009

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