January 24, 2012 - Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Today's Readings

David is being more careful this time. He tried to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem once before, but a man died. That time they put the Ark on an ox cart as if it were just another box. It almost fell off. This time they carry it in as they are supposed to, and every six steps, David sacrifices two animals. When the Ark finally reaches the sanctuary, David makes many more offerings. He is being very careful to show respect for the Ark which he did not do the first time.

What was the Ark? It was box. Inside the box were three items: the Ten Commandments, written on stone by the hand of God, some of the manna, the food that appeared in the desert, and the staff of Aaron, which proved that he was a priest. It was a box that contained three miracles. It was not an idol like the pagans worshipped. No one thought that it was God or that God was inside, but it represented the presence of God in Israel. Therefore, it had to be treated with the highest respect.

We, in this church, have a box too. Inside that box is the Eucharist which is the Body and Blood and Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That means that the tabernacle is greater than the Ark of the Covenant, inasmuch as the Eucharist is greater than the manna or the tablets or the staff. It is necessary then that our respect for the tabernacle should be greater than the respect that David had for the Ark.

Not that we should sacrifice animals, but that we should not treat it like any just any other item. When we enter the church, we genuflect toward the tabernacle. We keep silent because we are in the presence of the Divine. I have had people try to converse with me while I am at the tabernacle with the door open, as if we were not in the Holy of Holies.

We must cultivate an attitude of piety, which is the fear of the Lord. This does not appear automatically. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which we need to ask for and keep in practice. God does not seem to strike people dead anymore for casual disrespect, but this should not stop us from respecting holy things. Let us be thankful for his mercy, but remain afraid to disrespect him.