“Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?”

The Old Testament reading (1 Kgs 8:22-23; 27-30) for today’s Mass is an excerpt from Solomon’s prayer upon dedicating the temple he had just built.  He wonders how God can be confined to such a structure, His dwelling place on earth.  He promises the Lord prayers and petitions from himself and God’s people Israel and asks the Lord for pardon.

Being a New Testament people, we see in this temple a prefigurement of God permanently dwelling with us, in a real and substantial way, through the Church established by His Son.  At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the priesthood and the Eucharist, thus anticipating the promise He made at the end of Matthew’s gospel: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).  Solomon’s call for prayers, petitions, and pardon are still perfectly valid.

Today is also the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  Wonderfully tying into the regular reading for the day just discussed, we are reminded that the Word became flesh in Jesus’ first tabernacle, His mother’s womb.  Is it any wonder we honor Mary so highly for accepting the joys (Lk 1:46-55 and the miracle at Cana [Jn 2:1-11] which happens to be the gospel reading for this feast day) and sorrows (Lk 2:35) that were to accompany this awesome responsibility?  The Son of God became man in order to save us.  He told us that “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51).  This glorified body is present and available to us today at every Mass and in every tabernacle in the world.  Don’t ever miss out on this blessing of life that was provided to us at such a great price.

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