2 Feb 2017
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
The Temple was very important to the Jewish people. It was a big stone building, surrounded by walls and other buildings. It was like a little city. But at the center of the “city” was the Temple; it was the place where the Jewish people went to meet God. God was in the Temple.
But then, after Christ came along and died and rose, and ascended into Heaven, a new Temple was built. But this one wasn’t made of stone—instead, the Apostles and the rest of Christ’s disciples became the new Temple. They became a living Temple. They became the “place” where people were supposed to meet God. God was still in the Temple, but it was a different kind of Temple—the Temple had become the Church.
And so, when people meet “the Church,” hopefully they’re also meeting God; because God lives inside (and outside) the Church. But when we talk about the “Church,” we’re talking mainly about the community of believers, but also about the buildings we come to worship in. When we talk about the “Church,” we can be talking about both our church buildings and us—brothers and sisters who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
But, you know, the Church—the Temple—isn’t as important for a lot of people as it used to be. And so we have to make an extra effort to be the face of God to other people. When we talk to other people, we want to try to talk like Jesus would talk to them. Or when somebody needs helps, we want to try to be like Jesus and offer our help. Or when a friend or someone has done something really good, we want to try to support them like Jesus does.
When people meet us, our task is to do our best to make sure they meet God through us. All of us who believe in Jesus are his Church; we are his Temple. When others meet us, hopefully they’re meeting God, too. It’s a great responsibility. But it’s also a great thing to share the Light of Christ with others.
And, you know, we have that Light of Christ in us. It was given to each of us at our baptism—that lit candle. And that Light grows brighter every time we come to Mass, every time we turn to Jesus. The deeper our friendship with Christ grows, the brighter the Light of Christ shines through us. And that’s our hope—that when people see us, they’ll see the Light of Christ.
When people come across the Church—the Temple of God—we hope they see the Light of Christ . . . and be glad.