What kind of house can you build for me; what is to be my resting place?
We read in the OT how places of encounter with God became places of worship (altars, shrines, temples). We find the same thing with places connected with the life of Jesus which have become places of worship.
Yet, we cannot deny that sometimes the places of worship we build are more for our self-glorification then for the glorification of God.
Mixed with our good intentions of glorifying God is our desire to control God. We control who has access to God and who does not; we control who can be close or near and who cannot; we control who is worthy to receive him and who is not. In his public ministry people wanted not only to hear and see Jesus; they also wanted to touch him, even just the tassel of his clothing.
Now we keep him in a tabernacle, in a golden box,- we control access to him and decide who is worthy and who is not. Some just want to touch the tabernacle, such is their need or devotion, but even this we try to control. What kind of house can you build for me; what is to be my resting place?
We build cathedrals also with words; we offer God the sweetest and most beautiful literary names and images we can conceive or imagine; We come up with clever ways to speak about God. We tell Him: I love you; I believe in You, I trust in You; I hope in You, with an urgency and intensity to convince God that what we really mean what we say.
Yet, we fail to realize that more important than what we can say or conceive about God is what God says about us.
And what is it that God says fundamentally about us?; precisely what God said to Jesus at his baptism: You are my beloved son (daughter) in whom I am pleased. God says this not because of anything that we have done or accomplished. When Jesus was baptized he had not done a single miracle or preached a single sermon. God says this simply because we exist, because he is our father, our mother. And more important, much more important, than what we can say about God, like: I love God, I believe in God, I trust in God, I hope in God is to believe and embrace what God says to us: I love you, I believe in you, I trust in you, I hope in you. What kind of house can you build for me, what is to be my resting place?
[Fr. Tony Diaz, CMF, is the pastor at San Gabriel Mission in California. Father Tony has been a Claretian Missionary serving in Texas, California, Arizona, Mexico and Korea].