Living Tabernacles 5-7-2023

As I read the second reading today, some words stay with me.
“You too” (that means all of us). You too – are living stones built as an
edifice of spirit.
These words reminded me that we are the church – not this
fantastic building that many of you and others worked so hard to create.
This building is a very special place for the church to gather. We are
very different people, with different backgrounds, talents, personalities,
life experiences, and cultures. We are the church. Words we have heard
before. Fairly simple words, but they need to be said over and over
again. They need to be believed and lived.
I have been in some beautiful churches and cathedrals and have
found many of them cold and lifeless. I have been in a parish church
that was an old barn (their church building had burned down). In that
barn there was life, spirit, energy, variety and warmth. There was real
church because of the people – the living stones.

When we come to this building that houses us the church – most of
us get very reverent. We bow to the Blessed Sacrament in our
Tabernacle Chapel as a sign of our respect. I believe this is a good thing
to do. It is part of who we are. But my question to all of us as church
tonight/today is this.
How reverent are we, how respectful are we to the living
tabernacles right next to us? This tabernacle is made of some type of
metal. It holds for us Catholics the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus. I
believe and respect that, but I also believe that every human being is a
living flesh and blood container of God – a human tabernacle.
That person in our family that we find very difficult right now (you
know that person) has God in them. That person that drives everyone
crazy at school or work has God in them.
That person, who is homeless, who is from another country and
taking some of our jobs, who is dying of AIDS, whose values are totally
opposite of mine, has God living in them.
How respectful? How reverent are we to these living tabernacles –
these containers of God – that we rub elbows with everyday. A little
respect, a little reverence, can do some pretty powerful things.
A businessman in a hurry plunked down a dollar into the cup of a
man selling flowers and rapidly went his way. Half a block down the
street, he turned around and made his way back to the poor flower seller.
“I’m sorry,” he said picking out his favorite flower. “In my haste I
failed to make my purchase. After all, you are a businessman just like
myself. Your flowers are fairly priced and of good quality. I trust you
won’t be upset with my forgetting to pick out my purchase.” With that
he smiled and quickly went on his way again.
A few weeks later, while at lunch, a neatly dressed, handsome man
approached the businessman’s table and introduced himself. “I’m sure
you don’t remember me, and I don’t even know your name, but your
face I will never forget. You are the man who inspired me to make
something of myself. I was a vagrant selling flowers on a street corner
until you gave me back my self-respect and a sense of dignity. Now I
believe I am a businessman, too.”


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