In the First Book of Kings, we hear of the dedication of the Temple, built by King Solomon. The Ark of the Covenant was carried in procession and positioned in the Holy of Holies. Once it was in place, the “cloud” of God’s glory descended upon the Holy of Holies. God chooses to dwell with the people.
I thought it rather curious that one verse was omitted from this reading. Apparently the architects of the Temple made a slight error in measurements. According to verse eight, the poles that were used to carry the Ark in procession were too long and protruded into the Holy Place immediately before the Holy of Holies. Rather than detach them from the Ark thereby eliminating the problem, the decision to leave them tells us that it was not the intention of the priests to simply leave the Ark resting there. The poles were necessary so that the Ark could be carried in procession. God would continue to walk among the people whenever the Ark was carried among them.
Although we don’t carry the tabernacle in procession, it is still our practice to carry the Blessed Sacrament in procession once or twice every year. This ritual detail is important as it reminds us that God has made the deliberate choice to not only be with us but to walk with us as well.
The Gospel speaks of “touching the tassel” of Jesus’ cloak. This tangible connection between Jesus the healer and the sick that are laid in his path is another reminder of God’s presence in our midst.
Obviously, we are also another tangible reality of God’s presence as the Church reminds us that God resides not only in our Tabernacle and in the Word, but also in us. Our daily celebration of the Eucharist is another reminder of God’s presence in our midst. Once again, we are reminded of how blessed we are to have God dwelling in our midst.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator