The Temple is not only a place of liturgical rites and song, but above all a place of adoration, Pope Francis stressed at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning.
Reflecting on today’s first reading from the Book of Maccabees, which referred to the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus, the Holy Father said that the role of the Temple was to be a place of reference for the community, for the people of God.
“The Temple is the place where the community goes to pray, to praise the Lord, to give thanks, but above all to adore: the Lord is adored in the Temple,” he said. “And this is the most important point. This is also true for liturgical ceremonies: in this liturgical ceremony, what is most important? The songs, the rites – they are all beautiful? Adoration is most important: the whole community together look at the altar where the sacrifice is celebrated and adore.”
However, Pope Francis noted, Christians may have lost the importance of this sense of adoration. Citing the Gospel, where Christ expels vendors from the Temple, the Holy Father asked whether our temples are truly places of adoration.
“Saint Paul tells us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, he said. I am a temple. The Spirit of God is in me. And he also tells us: Do not sadden the Spirit of the Lord that is within you! And also here, perhaps we cannot speak of adoration, but of a type of adoration that is the heart that looks for the Spirit of the Lord within oneself and knows that God is within him, that the Holy Spirit is within him. He listens and follows it.”
Just as it was mentioned in the first reading, the Holy Father said that the temples of our bodies must also be purified with prayer, penance, and with the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thus, the physical and spiritual temples can be true places of adoration and praise to God.
“And when the joy of the Temple is spoken of, it speaks of this: the whole community in adoration, in prayer, in thanksgiving, in praise,” Pope Francis concluded. “Me, in prayer with the Lord, who is inside of me because I am a temple. I am listening, I am available. May the Lord grant us this true sense of the Temple, so that we may go forward in our lives of adoration and listening to the Word of God.” (J.A.E.)