First Reading: Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Thus did Moses; according to all that the LORD commanded him, so he did. And in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. Moses erected the tabernacle; he laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars; and he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent over it, as the LORD had commanded Moses. And he took the testimony and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above on the ark; and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the screen, and screened the ark of the testimony; as the LORD had commanded Moses. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would go onward; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not go onward till the day that it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 84:3-6, 8, 11
My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at thy altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in thy house, ever singing thy praise! [Selah] Blessed are the men whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. “Have you understood all this?” They said to him, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there.
My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
When my husband and I were newly married we took a trip to Europe. While we were in Paris we visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame where I had a particularly moving experience while praying the Rosary in one of the side chapels. Near me were a couple of brothers praying as well, and in the background a boy choir was rehearsing; beautiful stained glass windows loomed up in front of me and the smell of incense and candles filled the air. Everything in that space spoke to me of the presence of God. And it was so easy to pray.
Sometimes I am a little envious of the monastic and cloistered life. Nuns and monks spend their entire lives in an atmosphere similar to the one I have just described and their sole objective is prayer. It would be so easy to be aware of God’s presence and to grow in holiness if my life were like that.
Sometimes I’m even a little envious of the Israelites who, though they were in the desert, had such visible and tangible evidence of God’s presence dwelling with them. It would be so easy to have faith if every morning you got up, stepped out of your tent, and saw a giant cloud over your camp.
I long to have those intense experiences of God’s presence. But I do not live in a convent. And I do not have a giant cloud over my house. How can I really know the presence of God in my everyday life?
He is in beauty of creation, the fellowship I enjoy with family and friends, and He is in the smiling face of my son. He is in the words of Scripture that I read, and in the hymns of praise that I sing.
But most of all, the real and true presence of Jesus is given to us in the Eucharist. Every time we go to Mass or visit the adoration chapel, He is there, Body Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And if I can just shut up and tune in, that presence will be made real in my life.
Whatever you are doing today, wherever life has placed you, take a quiet moment to realize God’s presence in your life.
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith. Read more about her here.