St. Thomas Aquinas said that one of the reasons that it was fitting for man to be saved through sacraments was because just as man fell through material things, so he should be redeemed through material things. In today’s readings we’re reminded of the importance of holy things to bring us closer to God. Our Lord has taken flesh and lived among us; he doesn’t just expect us to reach out to him immaterially. In today’s Gospel the people are straining to just touch the tassel of his cloak to receive healing. In today’s First Reading the Israelites carefully transfer the holy objects that used to be kept in and around the Ark in the Tent of Meeting into the new Temple, and the Lord through the cloud shows he is pleased to have a place where people can come to be with him and to pray.
God is Spirit and therefore has no need of material things or places, but he has shown us through his Word that we can dedicate material things and places to enable us to draw spiritually closer to him. Many of the sacraments show God working through material things, such as bread, wine, and water. Therefore even though he is spirit our devotion to him can be spiritual through the material. We consider certain things holy–churches, rosaries, icons, etc.–but only inasmuch as they help us draw closer to God. We cherish and respect them because, like those tassels the people were straining to touch in today’s Gospel, they help us to reach out to God through them.
Make an inventory of the religious articles in your home today and whether you’re using them to draw closer to God. Visit your parish and draw physically closer to Our Lord himself in the Blessed Sacrament. Every step we take toward a holy thing out of love for God is a step we take closer to him.
Readings: 1 Kings 8:1–7, 9–13; Psalm 132:6–10; Mark 6:53–56.