Read 1 Kings 8:1-7,9-13, Ps. 132:6-10, Mark 6:53-56

“And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” (Mark 6:56)

Today, Mark tells us that when Jesus went into the villages, people begged Him to touch his garment, and all who touched it were healed. Meanwhile, in today’s first reading, David’s wish finally came to pass when the Temple was dedicated, and the Ark of the Lord was brought to its rightful place. God manifested his presence in the form of a thick cloud that filled the temple that day. What lessons do we learn from today’s readings?

1. God Inhabits His Temple: Although God is everywhere, He especially dwells in the temple. That is why Jesus would go to the temple to drive out the money changers, saying: “My house shall be a house of prayer…” (Matthew 21:13). In other words, whatever is dedicated for worship, God takes it as His own. Consider the building of God's house whenever you step into a church. Know that by touching the pews, the walls, the altar, etc., you are touching Jesus’ garment.

2. God Reveals His Presence Through Visible Signs: As humans, we often find it difficult to appreciate divine realities due to the limitation of our senses. However, God sometimes opens our eyes to see these realities. Something extraordinary happened during the temple's dedication: “And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord.” (1 Kings 8:10-11).

This was a reminder of the Pillar of Cloud that protected (and guided) the Israelites when they journeyed from Egypt. (Cf. Exodus 13:21). Throughout the Old Testament, God revealed Himself through various signs and symbols. Still, today, God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. (Cf. Hebrews 1:1-2)

3. Always Approach God’s Temple with Joy and Expectation: The Psalmist says: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Psalm 122:1). This was the joy the people felt in today’s Gospel passage they moment they recognised Jesus. They ran from various neighbourhoods to meet him, bringing their sick. Like those who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, let us approach God’s temple, conscious that we will drink from the river of life that flows from it. According to Ezekiel, “Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live.” (Ezekiel 47:9)

4. Touch with Faith: It is not enough to touch Jesus’ garment; let us ensure we touch with a heart full of faith. A few days ago, we read of the woman who received healing from a twelve-year bleeding by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment. Many people touched Jesus, but only this woman received healing because she touched it with faith. No wonder the book of Hebrews says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6). While Jesus’ countrymen saw an ordinary carpenter’s son, the people in these villages that Jesus visited saw God in human flesh.

Let us examine our hearts today: Do I recognise God’s presence in the temple? Do I believe that Jesus is present body and soul in the Blessed Sacrament? Do I touch Jesus’ body and blood (Holy Communion) with deep faith? Do I also allow Jesus to touch me as He touched Peter’s mother-in-law?

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, increase my faith in your true presence. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Agatha, Virgin, Martyr. Bible Study: 1 Kings 8:1-7,9-13, Ps. 132:6-10, Mark 6:53-56).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu