Daily Homily: The Temple Was Filled with the Glory of the Lord

Saturday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time, Year Two

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Ezekiel 43:1-7ab
Psalm 85:9ab and 10,11-12,13-14
Matthew 23:1-12

Ezekiel has a vision of the new Temple – an earthly foreshadowing of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is only a foreshadowing of something mysterious and divine and not an actual blueprint. This is seen in the difference between Ezekiel’s vision and John’s vision: in Revelation: Ezekiel sees the new temple as the heart of the restored Israel; John sees the heavenly Jerusalem without a temple. John writes: “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22). Jesus’ risen body is the New Temple of the Lord.

What Ezekiel is envisioning is “an ideal setting in which society is built around worship of God and the holy places are safeguarded from defilement” (T. Leclerc, Introduction to the Prophets, Paulist Press, 298). After its completion, the glory of the Lord, which departed the old temple, returns to the new temple and dwells there eternally. As God says: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the sons of Israel for ever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name” (Ezekiel 43:7).

The covenant Jesus establishes is unbreakable. Those who dwell with God have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb and will never defile them again.

Jesus charges the scribes and pharisees with hypocrisy and infidelity. They do not practice what they preach. Instead of praying, giving alms and fasting in secret, they preform works to be seen. Instead of walking along the path of humility, they seek earthly honors.

When the Pharisees and scribes, who sit on the chair of Moses, teach in accord with God’s law given through Moses, what they teach is to be observed. At the same time, our sharing Jesus’ passion and death gives us a new law – the law of grace. With Christ, the old law is brought to fulfillment and perfection and the Apostles are granted authority to teach in the name of Jesus Christ.

The law of grace and charity introduces us into the freedom of the children of God. As God’s children, our model is Jesus Christ, who came not to be served but to serve. Jesus invites us today to follow him along the path of humble service, a path that leads to the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

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Jason Mitchell

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