The Lord made a whip out of cords and drove the money-changers and those who sold oxen, sheep and doves out of the temple area and said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
There are many places I spend my day. I spend way too much time in my office; way too much time in my car; and way too much time in the restaurants. There are many things that I do in a day. I spend way too much time working on my computer; way too much time in front of the TV; way too much time eating.
I still remember, while in college, being invited by a close friend to go to Church. I would often tell them, “I don’t need to go to Church to pray to God. I can do it from home and I can do it my way.” Today, I can’t even believe that I said that! In fact, I have to laugh whenever I hear that from my students! I know the perfect answer to their comments: “Why don’t you just admit it: You do none of the above. You don’t go to Church. You don’t pray at home. You don’t care at all.” So, if you ever hear someone tell you that they pray at home rather than go to Church, feel very confident in telling them the truth about themselves. It will do them a lot of good.
The secret to today’s feast is to value and cherish your parish Church. It is the house of God. It is the temple of God’s glory. It is a home for the strong and mighty and the broken-hearted; the high-flying and the downtrodden; the rich and famous and the neglected and the invisible. It is not only the people, the administrators, the priests or the ministries that make a parish special, holy and welcoming. It is the beauty of the steeple, the sights, the smells, the spaces, and the silence that make it a home away from home. In Church, we are at the cutting edge of heaven. I can rest here. I can enjoy some peace in my busy day; some silence in my noisy day; some sights other than the virtual world. The Church is not only a home, it is an oasis.
While I sit or kneel, I know that I am not alone for in front of me is the tabernacle, the Blessed Sacrament. I can stand or prostrate myself before the crucifix. I can clasp my hands in front of the Saints of heaven and of God that make the Church a family. I have my Lord, my Savior, my best friend, my brother; I have my blessed Mother. I have all my brothers and sisters, all the angels and saints. I belong. I am someone. I am loved.
The Baptismal font reminds me of where it all began; where I became a member, a believer, a child of God – a son of God. It’s true. I am not just flesh and blood, but also soul and divinity. I am special. I have dignity. I have a room reserved in my Father’s mansion. No one, absolutely no one has the right to take that away from me. Grace was poured upon me. I was bathed with light. I was clothed in white. I was anointed for the fight.
Also, conveniently located in the back, are the Confessionals. They are located next to the baptismal font for a reason: to remember. Baptism is genesis; Confession is neo-genesis! It is the way to a new beginning - grace restored, love renewed and life regenerated. Tears are poured and stains from sins are removed. This is where Jesus comes to life, the Gospel is re-lived, the parable of the Prodigal Son is repeated, lives are changed, families are restored and homes are rebuilt. Home Sweet Home!
When was the last time I invited someone to my house?
“I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord, that my name maybe there forever.”