June 27 2020.
The Temple of God and returning from Exile after Lockdown.
Returning to Holy Mass after twelve or so weeks of Corona Lockdown seems like returning from exile. Perhaps there is an analogy that can be made between our own experiences and those of the Hebrews in exile at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and not just at the spiritual level because modernity often seems like a Babylonian captivity. This Old Testament event was a punishment for idolatry, adultery, unfruitfulness and unfaithfulness so the question has to be asked whether our own recent exile was a punishment for similar reasons? It was in Babylon where the elite of Judah hung up their harps and wept - mourning at the memory of Sion and the destruction of their Temple.
Recently we celebrated the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist and it brought to mind that day - three months prior to his birth - when he prophesized and danced in the womb of his mother before Our Lord in the womb of the blessed Virgin. The Old Testament pointed to this scene when King David danced with joyful anticipation before the Ark of the Covenant on its way to restore the glory of God in the Temple. (2 Samuel 6)
Ultimately Jesus became the true temple and the true sacrifice so receiving the Eucharistic Lord allows us access to the Temple, However, mere access to the temple is not all that happens as St. Thomas Aquinas says the purpose of Gospel of John is to point out that "the faithful become the temple of God and become filled with the majesty of God". In other words, this, therefore, is true life. "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full". (John 10:10)
Notwithstanding plentiful spiritual communions over the last few months participation in this temple may well have waned for many of the faithful because of not being able to particpate in the Eucharistic sacrifice. So if they feel now as if they occupy some position in Ezekiel's valley of dry bones how great it will be to be restored fully once again to the temple of God. Life, restoration , recreation, rest, indeed everything is from the Father including Christ's body and His blood which flowed from his pierced side giving life as the waters flowed from Ezekiel's vision of the temple. "Below waters were issuing from the threshold of the Temple towards the east... and where the river flows every living creature which swams will live". (Ezekiel 47).