Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Going to God's House

David and the Ark

The readings from yesterday use a lot of images that direct our attention to whether or not we are in God's house, or whether God is in our house, or something else. In the first reading, David had been afraid to have the Ark of the Covenant in his own city because of the fearful events that had been associated with it, so he had sent it to the house of Obed-edom, and he had left it there for three months. But wait, now God was blessing Obed-edom and his house because of the Ark was there. We can't have that! So David brings the Ark back to Jerusalem, and he's so excited, and he just can't hide it, that he dances during the procession.

Leaving aside the abuses of power that allowed David to put the Ark in someone else's when it was scary, but then bring it back to his house when it was cool, David eventually realized that to have God in your house was good. And the idea of having God in his house was so joyful to him that he danced with abandon. David was slow to understand, but he eventually realized that he wanted, he needed, God in his house.

Then, when we turn to the Gospel, we find Jesus speaks to those specifically in the house. When Jesus' mother and brothers come looking for him, Mark situates them outside the house. But Jesus is situated in the house, and he addresses his words to those in the house. When he says "Here are my mother and my brothers," he is addressing those who are in the house with him.

Now, the house in this Gospel is actually Jesus' home in Capernaum, where he took up residence during his public ministry. So the people he is addressing are actually in a better position than David and his household. David got to bring the Ark of God into his house, but Jesus' followers got to go into the very house of God. Getting to go to the house of God like Jesus's listeners is way better than having God come to your house like David.

But now we have something even better. Because God wants to keep getting closer to us, he gave us the Eucharist, where instead of just visiting each other's houses like friends, he can come and dwell within our bodies and souls as only God can do. So when faced with this reality, that God has given us an opportunity to be close to him that David never had, and even Jesus' contemporaries never had, we have to apply the words of today's psalm to ourselves: "Oh gates lift high your heads, grow higher ancient portals. Let him enter, the King of Glory." Because our hearts are often like ancient doors: a little bit rusted, a little bit slow to open, we have to constantly work to make them more open so that Jesus can enter in.

So what part of your heart, of your life, do you not want to let Jesus into today? The breviary translation of this psalm refers to "The Lord, the valiant in war," while this translation refers to "The Lord, mighty in battle." I think it's usually a war or a battle to let the Lord into those places in our hearts that are most resistive to his presence, because if I let him in there, then I have to change, and it's easier to stay the way I am.

So through the Eucharist, let Jesus enter into the house of your hearts, let him enter and occupy the deepest, darkest corner, the corner you don't want to show him. Let him enter, and then he can more truly call us his brothers and sisters.


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