September 23, 2011 - Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, priest

Today's Readings

The Lord reassures the Jews in our first reading today. The temple they have built is a small, poor building compared to the marvelous temple built by King Solomon. Those who were children before the old temple was destroyed look at the new temple and weep because it is such a pitiful thing. But the Lord reassures them; he promises that this temple will someday be greater than the old temple. All the gold and silver in the world belongs to the Lord, and he can make more if he wishes.

The second temple did become a beautiful building that the whole world spoke about. This happened particularly in the last 70 years before it was destroyed. King Herod put a lot of money into renovating and expanding the temple. Then the Romans destroyed it. This was not the true fulfillment of the promise.

The first temple was built by Solomon. The second temple was built by the Jews who had returned from exile. The third temple was built by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This temple, this dwelling place of God, not made with human hands, is far more glorious than either of the previous buildings. Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. The second temple was destroyed by the Romans. The third temple could not be destroyed. Indeed it was destroyed, but three days later it rose from the dead and can never be destroyed again.

Our new temple, Jesus Christ, God himself dwelling among us, is superior to the other temples in every way, but this temple is not yet complete. The Body of Christ is the Church. We are like the bricks that form the walls of this temple. The Saints are like the gold and silver that God promised to decorate his temple with. The purpose of our lives should be to expand the temple by preaching the Good News and to become ourselves the beautiful block of stone that God wants us to be, decorated not with paint or mosaics or intricate carvings, but with holiness and justice and love. Some people dedicate their lives to building a bank account or a home or a museum. Like the first two temples, these buildings will someday be destroyed. We dedicate our lives to building this new temple, the Body of Christ, which will stand forever.