On my dresser in my room there is a picture of my Mom and my Dad. I keep them there because in a beautiful way those pictures remind me of my parents and the love they so freely and generously gave to me. Certainly I would love to have them here with me but for now all I have are those pictures and my memories. We are human beings and we all need reminders of people we love and experiences we’ve enjoyed. God understands, us he made us and he knows our heart. During the long history of God’s relationship with his people there have been moments when God knew we needed a special reminder of His presence.. As the Israelites fled Egypt they followed a cloud by day and a fire by night. For centuries the they kept the tablets of God’s law in gilded wood box called the ark of the covenant. The ark reminded them of God’s presence and gave them comfort. When the temple was finally built the Ark of the covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies, a place so sacred that only the High priest was allowed to go in once a year. Then one day the israelites decided to use the ark of the covenant as a weapon and they brought it into battle. And God was so displeased that they lost the battle and the ark was lost forever.. When the temple was finally rebuilt the Holies of Holies was empty. The chief priest would still go in and offer sacrifice but the Israelites were deprived of the comfort of God’s presence. The temple was still sacred but the real presence of God was gone In today’s Gospel something astounding happened When Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the temple God’s very presence was returned to the temple and the Israelites and to all of humanity. Jesus was and is more than the ark of the covenant Jesus is the very Son of God. And from that day forward the temple and humanity would never be deprived of God’s loving presence again. Only two people Simeon and Anna were there to understand the significance of the moment. While on earth Jesus himself was the living presence of God, But realizing that he would face death on the cross at the Last supper Jesus gave us his continual presence in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is more than a picture which causes us to remember. The Eucharist, Holy Communion is the very real presence of God. Since the last supper Jesus has been present in a real way at every Mass that was ever celebrated and in every church where the Eucharist is reserved. What does this have to do with us. All day long people stop into our church to pray it is a beautiful thing to see. Sometimes I find them smiling, sometimes I find them crying many have their head bowed in prayer. There is almost always someone here. They come to give thanks or to seek help They come here because they know that this is a sacred place. They come because they long for the real presence of God in their lives. So many people in our world long for God, yet can’t find Him. But like Anna and Simeon the people who stop by during the week or the people who come early to pray, or the people who don’t rush out after they’ve received communion but remain in their place after the final blessing to pray or give thanks, know that God is here in this holy place. Let us all be prophets of God’s real presence in our world. Let us strive to deepen our devotion to Jesus forever present in the Eucharist. Let us come into the presence of God in our sadness, in our need, and in our joy. . God wants us to know that He is with us and once we really understand that God is with us, once we get it. Nothing will be able to harm us or touch us. May our belief in the loving presence of God help us to live our generous lives lives which give hope to everyone we meet. Amen
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