Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ezra 6:7-8.12b.14-20; Luke 8:19-21)
Fishing on Sunday morning, a man wondered why some thought he should be in church. Was he not close to God on the lake communing with creation and thanking the Lord for the serenity his heart felt? We might ask, what is the need for churches in the first place? People could pray together in small groups meeting in homes.
Yet churches serve the human need to respond to God’s goodness. Much more than places for the community to assemble, churches praise God by the dedication of human ingenuity and effort to a structure that no person really owns but is “God’s house.” In most cultures churches, temples, and synagogues express the human desire to reserve the best for God. Surely this is why tour guides always feature a church or temple as a “must see.”
The first reading today refers to the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple after the exile. Judah’s returning remnant finished the construction and dedicated the building in 515 B.C. It was necessarily humbler its predecessor and definitely less spectacular than its successor built by Herod the Great and frequented by Jesus. Obviously, however, this temple was the best that the people could manage and represented their tribute to the Lord who rescued them from foreign lands.