Listen to the Homily
Read the Homily
I will go to the temple and offer a turtle dove as a sacrifice to the Lord. The first thing I do when I get to the temple is to go to the moneychangers table. I take out a pagan five-dollar bill and change it for two temple dollars. It is a lousy exchange rate, but a turtledove is cheap and only costs one dollar. I take my two temple dollars to the turtledove table and say, “I would like to buy a turtledove for my sacrifice to the Lord.” I am told that it will now cost three dollars. So, I go back to the moneychangers, take out another five dollars for two more temple dollars. I return to the turtle dove table and I now have a bird and one useless temple dollar. I tell them to keep it. Why do they do this? I’ll tell you. It took forty-six years to build the temple. Can you imagine union trucks pulling up at your front door for forty-six years? Jesus sees this dishonest fund-raising initiative and tells them to stop. The authorities ask Jesus by what authority He has to do these things. Jesus answers, “Destroy this temple and I will give you a different temple.” I don’t think God liked the temple, the big stones and the gaudy looking gold dome. He didn’t like the idea that the builder was King Herod who wanted His son destroyed. He liked it the way it was before the temple was built when He was living in the Tent of Meeting.
My brother and his wife asked me to go camping with them down the Cape. He said, “I will have a nice tent just for you.” When I got to the campground I said to my brother: “I don’t think that is a good place for the tent. You pitched it over a rock.” He said, “It doesn’t matter, I have an air mattress, it will be like sleeping at the Sheraton.” That night I got into the tent and lay on the mattress, and I heard a sound: Psssssssss. I thought, “This cannot be good.” Sure enough, I slept all night on a rock. The next day, after dinner, I got up and my brother asked me where I was going, “To get a new air mattress?” I said. “No, I am going to sleep in my own bed.” That was the last time I ever slept in a tent. My question is: Why would God want to dwell in a tent? God loved the tent because He was always right there with His people. So, when Jesus said, “Destroy this temple,” He was saying, “You can take the temple away, my Father wants His tent back.”
When I worked with my father during my sabbatical, I was kidding around with him. I said, “Dad, why don’t you act like other supervisors? Why don’t you wear a nice tie, make phone calls from a fancy executive’s office, and play golf in the afternoons with all the other CEOs?” Dad put the timber down that he was about to cut and he said, “Peter, do you remember the time when they delivered the lumber and half of the 2x4s were twisted and I sent them back? I said, “Yes.” They came back with perfect 2x4s because I was here. Then he said, “Do you remember the time the painters came and they didn’t know what color to paint the bedrooms on the second floor? I said, “Yes.” “The painters worked that day because I was here. And he said, “Do you remember the last time someone came to the job late?” I said, “NO.” “It is because I am here every morning and if there is a problem on the job, if there is a question or someone is having a difficulty, I want to be the first person to know about it not the last. That is why I work right here.”
God works with the same principle. The tabernacle is always portable so that God can be close to us. When you or I go out and encounter a difficulty, our Lord is the first to know about it. If we see that enemy is about to attack, God is right at our side on the front lines. And if there is insurmountable difficulty we have to cross in order to get the Promised Land, God is there. The very last words Jesus spoke before He ascended into heaven was “I will be with you always until the end of the world.” What was He saying? He loves the tent because He is always with His people. We are the tent where He dwells.Back to All Homilies