August 3, 2017 – Thursday in the 17th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: John Vianney (May 8, 1786 – August 4, 1859)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Exodus 40:16-21,34-38 – Psalm 84 – Matthew 13:47-53

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!” (Today’s Psalm response)

Today we come to the end of our trek through Exodus and are given a description of the ‘dwelling place of God’ who is always with us on our journey. We are also reminded, once again, of one of the images of ‘the Kingdom of Heaven’ in a repeat of the parable of the “Kingdom” using the image of a great dragnet in the sea. Then, this passage ends with the words, “…[we should be like] the head of the household who brings out of his storeroom things both old and new.”

While the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness they constructed a portable ‘sanctuary’ for the Ark but we know that eventually they ‘settled’ and constructed Solomon’s Temple. Maybe they were thinking, “that was old: this is new!”

When Jesus uses those words I think he means that we should always be able to both look back – to see where we’ve come from – and look ahead to where we are going. Again: not either or but both and. There is a growing movement within our Church by some people to go back – not in the sense of ‘remembering’ but in the sense of saying ‘that was the golden age and we should never have left it.’ This is not what is meant when Jesus says these words. The Israelites not only had to leave Egypt. They had to enter into the promised land. Now we’re back to Moses first encounter with God who says, “I AM” Not, “I WAS” or “I WILL BE” but “I AM” [with you till the end of the age.] When the Israelites got settled (out of the wilderness) they didn’t continue to build a “tent” to house God’s presence but, instead, built the Beautiful Temple in Jerusalem. How do we get on that thin line of remembrance (of where we’ve come from) but always with the thought that we are still ‘on the way.’

We can never forget where we’ve come from and all the ways that God has watched over our journey and blessed us. And we can never forget that he promised to be with us till the end of time. How do we get to that point where we can say, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “Were not our hearts burning within us as we recognized Jesus?” Amen!

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