February 7, 2012 - Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

“Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” King Solomon’s point is that we cannot put God in a box. God is not in anything. When we say he is in eternity, we simply mean he is not in time. When we say that he is in heaven, we mean that he is not on earth. Yet when we say that he is not in time or on earth, we mean that he is not limited to time or earth, but he is obviously present to us where we are on earth, in time. The only place that we say God is not is in our sins, yet he remains fully powerful over our sins though he allows us the power to disobey him.

King Solomon knew all this because he was wise. He did not imagine that he had actually created a house for God. Impressive though it was, it was as nothing in God’s sight. He created the galaxies, would he now live in a small building of stone and metal? Of course not!

Here we have a tension. We call this church the house of God, yet is he any more present here than on top of some mountain or in your kitchen? Some people use this argument to say that we should not have churches or that our churches should be functional buildings, a church on Sunday mornings and a movie theater the rest of the week. Consider how much space is wasted by this large sanctuary where only a few people sit. Consider how much heat is wasted by these tall ceilings. Has all this been done so that God could fit in here? Yet he fits in a small chapel, he fits in the smallest enclosed space, and then again he does not fit in any of these.

No, a house of God does not need to be large so that God would fit, but it does need to be large enough that our idea of God can expand. This one building is set aside as the house of God, not because he needs protection from the rain, but because we need to be reminded that he exists. An auditorium would be so much more efficient than a church, but we would impoverished. If we cannot set part of our city aside to be exclusively the dwelling of God, how would we possibly set part of our minds aside from worldly concerns to think about God.