5th Week in Ordinary Time
Blessed they who dwell in your house! (Psalm 84:5)
Think about soldiers serving in the field. They may not have access to the sacraments, much less an actual church building, for months at a time. So imagine how lovely it would be, after attending an outdoor Mass in desert winds or trying to pray huddled inside a small tent, to step into a cathedral, see the stained glass windows, smell the incense, and kneel before the tabernacle.
Today’s psalm echoes the longing felt by anyone who cannot, for some reason, worship in the house of God. The psalmist feels deprived of the privilege of being in the Temple, and he has a deep sense of the happiness and blessedness of those who are there. He even remembers with longing the birds that would make their nests in the rafters or ledges of that magnificent building.
If the swallows can have a home in God’s Temple, how much more can we? God has called himself our Father and invited us into his house. When we go into a church, we are not just sitting in an elaborately—or simply—decorated building. We are in the courts of almighty God!
Still, God is not confined to the altar. The entire world is his sanctuary. He meets us in our workplaces and sickbeds, in our homes and in the marketplace. In fact, Jesus even called his body a temple—both his physical body and the whole Church, the body of Christ. He has chosen to make his home among the people he has redeemed, and that means that any time you are with your brothers and sisters in Christ, you are in God’s presence. And that means you can find rest and refreshment, even as you serve in your parish.
So tell the Lord, as the psalmist did, that you want to be close to him. Instead of feeling distant or unhappy with your circumstances, ask him to help you find his presence. Remind yourself that if the birds felt safe near God’s altar, you are even more beloved and welcome. You belong with him.
“Lead me, Lord, and guide me today. Help me find the time and the opportunity to rest in your presence.”
1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
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