Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 12:1-9; Matthew 7:1-5)
It is recommended that catechists set up an altar in the place where they are to teach. The altar may be covered with a white cloth signifying Jesus’ burial garb left behind once he rose from the dead. On the cloth could be placed a crucifix, perhaps another image of Christ, the Virgin or one of the saints, and a lighted candle, which also symbolizes Christ. The purpose of the altar is to show the instructed that they are being taught first and foremost by Christ himself.
The first reading from Genesis mentions Abram twice constructing altars. No doubt the passage takes for granted the sacrifices that are offered signifying Abram’s desire to please the Lord. Yet the altars themselves are a symbol of God because Abram constructs at least the first one on the place where God appears. The altars remind Abram and Sarai that God accompanies them in their journey.
We may construct an altar in our homes. It would remind us of the Lord’s presence and serve as a focal point for our offering of prayer. Like the couple we are on a journey to a Promised Land where we will be part of a great people. Our homes are but resting places, like Abram’s “stages,” as we find our room in God’s house.