1 Kings 8: 1, 6, 10 – Then Solomon called the elders of Israel together in Jerusalem to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord up from the Citadel of David, which is Zion.
The priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place, in the Debir of the Temple, that is, in the Holy of Holies, under the cherubs’ wings.
Now when the priests came out of the sanctuary, the cloud filled the Temple of the Lord, and because of the cloud the priests could no longer perform their duties: the Glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s Temple.
Imagine that, when Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem God showed up and no one could go in. Further imagine if you came to Mass one morning to find everyone outside because God had showed up and the brightness of His presence was so powerful that no one could go in.
I was saying this to my parish priest and he pointed out that in the Mass we believe that God shows up and we can go in – so that was me told.
Now the parallels with the Temple don’t end there. In our churches we have the Sanctuary with the Altar. We have the Tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is kept and where Christ is truly present.
Here’s a little bit from the book “Catholicism for Dummies” by Trigilio and Brighenti, Wiley Publishing 2003.
St. Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century Dominican theologian, said that the Holy Eucharist, particularly at Mass, reminds the faithful of what Jesus did for mankind in the past, makes him present in the Real Presence, the consecrated bread and wine, and promises the faithful the future glory of heaven by giving food for eternal life. Therefore, Catholics see the Mass as the summit and zenith of all Christian worship. To Catholics, the Mass incorporates the inspired Word of God in Scripture, and it makes present the word made flesh in the Holy Eucharist.
The essence of Christmas is this, that ‘God shows up’ and lives among us. We aren’t left on the pavement outside, we can go in and enjoy His presence.
Isaiah 7: 14 The virgin will conceive a child. She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel which means God with us.
John 1:4 So the word became flesh and dwelt among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His Glory, the Glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
St Peter bears witness to this when he says, “We saw His Majestic Splendour with our own eyes, when He received honour and Glory from God the Father. 2 Peter 1, 16-17
St Francis, St John of the Cross and St Theresa of Avila were aware of the Lord’s Glory in such a way that they could enter into His presence in a moment, whilst still be able to live very practical lives.
I wonder if we, too, can see beyond the problems and difficulties of this world and into the Glory of God, Immanuel, God with us, in a way that leaves us forever changed.
You Tube clip – Be exalted O God above the heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth. Psalm 57: 11