Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr (Optional Memorial)
He will dwell among you.
Have you ever heard of a chancel lamp? It’s that lantern or candle in a church that tells us that Jesus is present in the tabernacle. You might think it was developed as a kind of signal to let people know that they need to be reverent when they enter a church, but there is a lot more to it than this.
Think back to the Book of Exodus. When Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt, they probably felt vulnerable, scared, and isolated. God understood their anxiety and led them with a pillar of fire. The fire reminded them that he was with them and would guide and protect them always.
Remember too the return of God’s people from exile in Babylon. They were filled with joy as they began to rebuild their lives in the city of Jerusalem. But they were also concerned about the nations around them. Would God protect them and let them live in peace? In today’s first reading (Zechariah 2:15), the prophet Zechariah promises that God will be with them, this time as a wall of fire. He will protect them, and, even more, will be present among them as they rebuild.
Wouldn’t you love to have that same kind of comfort and peace? Some sign that God is accompanying you on your journey? The flame of the chancel lamp is that sign. In every church, the chancel lamp is there to tell you that Jesus is present. It’s there to remind you of his faithfulness—when you feel vulnerable, anxious, joyful, contented, or scared. It’s there to tell you that Jesus is really and truly present, hidden inside the tabernacle, just as he is present and hidden in the depths of your heart.
Of course, we know that God is always present to us. Our Bible says so; our catechism says so; even our own memory of past events says so. Still, his presence in the Blessed Sacrament stands above all of these assurances. Visible yet hidden, understandable yet mysterious, he is inviting you to come sit with him. Can you take a few moments out of your day and respond to his invitation? Go spend time with him; he just may have a special message for you.
“Thank you, Jesus, for your perpetual presence! Thank you for enlightening my heart!”
(Psalm) Jeremiah 31:10-13
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