Thursday, August 1, 2014

Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, bishop and doctor of the Church

(Exodus 40:16-21.34-38; Matthew 13:47-53)

If “the glory of God is the human person fully alive,” then the saints are that glory’s best representatives.  St. Alphonsus Ligouri’s fulsome life certainly reflected God’s greatness.  He was both a jurist and a canonist, wrote one of the premier works on moral theology, administered a diocese as its bishop, and founded a vigorous congregation of male religious (the Redemptorists) and an order of contemplative nuns.  However, the first reading provides a more traditional concept of God’s glory.

The Book of Exodus shows how God’s glory comes to rest on the Ark of the Covenant which Moses has built.  That glory is seen as a cloud which fills the tent housing the Ark.  Nothing is said of the nature of the cloud, but the impression is given that it is a cumulus that permeates the tent like the light from a 350 watt bulb.  Perhaps, however, that glory is a cloud of incense rising from the pots of worshippers.

We can exhibit God’s glory by both our worship and our living.  When we join in liturgical music and prayer, God is given due praise.  And when we work for the good of all in the name of the Lord – even if we are only sweeping the kitchen floor – we likewise point to God’s greatness.