The Readings for the 5th Monday of Ordinary Time (B2)
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the sanctuary, that a cloud filled the house of the Lord, And the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.
In 1985 or maybe 86, activists attended mass with John Cardinal O’Connor at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. They prayed alongside of everyone, stood for the hymns and sat silent and respectful through the sermon. (One Episcopal Priest in collar stood for the whole sermon and got his picture in the paper as a protesting priest… but he wasn’t Roman Catholic… a thing never quite made clear.) Then, at communion time, one of the activists received the consecrated Host and threw It on the ground, and trod It underfoot.
A visibly shaken – in fact near tears – Cardinal retrieved the dirty and broken Host from the floor and consumed It before continuing to give out communion.
The God of the Old Testament scares folks. Don’t worry: I’m not going to get into that odd 2,000 year old heresy, always new, always wrong idea that Jesus was somehow theologically different from the God of the Old Testament. I mean, the God of the Old Testament tends to show up in clouds and lightning; floods and tornadoes, earthquakes and fiery wheels.
Cute baby, cooing with angels; Jesus grows up and heals folks. He says (some) nice things. He’s very different from the fiery wheels. He’s relatable. He’s not (often) scary. He’s also funny. He disses his family. He jokes his friends. His miracles are (mostly) ones we all would like to see. And he has a cool, righteous anger. Whips? Who hasn’t wanted to use whips sometimes to clear a room, maybe even a room at church?
But the orthodox, historical Christian, is that this Jesus is the same God as that Fiery Wheels guy. In fact, the Orthodox will tell you full on that it was Jesus (pre-incarnation) who was walking with Adam. It was God the Son who made the universe (all things were made by him and without him was not anything made that has been made). If you are alive (in him was life…) it is because of God the Son. That’s Jesus.
So the Christian teaching is, a bit, scary. Just a bit… but there’s this other thing: Jesus’ humility. We hear this said, over and over, but we do not understand, we do not get what it can mean for the God of All Creation, the Lord of all Time and Space to be humble. He was humble in his passion, subject to spittings, torture, and death.
Come to Adoration.
Kneel in silence before the One Who Is.
The God of gods
Lord of lords
King of kings
Summum et Perfectisimum Bonum (the Totality and Perfection of Good)
Present in fullness of Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity…
In a flat disc of bread. That can be subject to torture and being spat upon, or trod upon. Mute and omnipotent, the Word of God accepts still our blasphemy and mocking.
This is the God of the New Testament and of the Old.
This is love.
The face of eternity.
The heart of grace, wounded for us.
Tunc ait Salomon : Dominus dixit ut habitaret in nebula.Then Solomon said: The Lord said that he would dwell in a cloud. But here is a Greater Thing than Solomon ever had or imagined.
Fully God, fully subject to human violence, also to Human Love, the humility of God on display, the Majesty of Infinity made finite and real by his will.
This is Love.