Week 26 | On the Road to Emmaus w/ Bishop Boyea | Make Sign of the Cross when passing a Tabernacle | December 10 to 16

Friday, December 8, 2023

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Don’t move. I want you to pause for a moment. Now think to yourself: where is the nearest tabernacle? If you have a chapel in your home like I do, the answer is pretty obvious. Otherwise, you may be mentally scanning the horizon to locate it or, rather, to locate He who dwells within the tabernacle. Let me explain as we journey through Week 26 On the Road to Emmaus. 

Our word “tabernacle” comes from the Latin tabernaculum meaning “tent”. This coinage refers to the Tent of Meeting or miškān which was the portable earthly dwelling place of the LORD during the Israelites’ years in the desert following their exodus from captivity in Egypt and up until the building of the Temple about 1000 years before Christ. The miškān was veiled. Only priests were allowed to enter it. Beyond the veil lay the Holy of Holies. This is where the Ark of the Covenant was to be found. Within the Ark dwelt the Ten Commandments. It was in the tabernacle that the living God resided. Here is where sacrifices of animals, grain, oil, wine and other substances were offered. This is where heavenly realities broke through into our earthly realm. This is where God dwelt.
As then, so too now…although with a significant difference or, rather, significant development. The old covenant, which was only a “shadow of the good things to come”, has given way to the new covenant (Hebrews 10:1). The Mosaic law has found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ and his Holy Church. Through the blood of Jesus, God has established not simply a new Israel, but a universal Church. Meanwhile, the priesthood of Jesus Christ offers the perfect sacrifice of God the Son to God the Father rather than the imperfect sacrifice of animals or vegetables. 
Hence, God still dwells among his people today, but now the presence of God is no longer just localized in the Tabernacle or Temple. With the Spirit given in fullness at Pentecost, not only does every Christian throughout the world become “God’s temple” because of “God’s Spirit” dwelling in him (1 Corinthians 3:16), but the very Presence of the Crucified and Risen Jesus dwells among us in the tabernacles of every church throughout the world: body, blood, soul, and divinity!
During the third apparition of the Angel of Peace to the three shepherd children of Fatima in October 1916, the angel appeared to the three shepherd children holding a chalice in his hands, with a Host above it from which drops of Blood were falling into the chalice. He then gave them this prayer: 
“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.” Amen. 
So, what is my challenge this week? I want us all to cultivate the pious custom of making the Sign of the Cross whenever we pass church or chapel where Jesus Christ is truly present in the tabernacle. What difference will that make to our lives? Here’s the experience of one family who are journeying with us On the Road to Emmaus.

+ Earl Boyea

Bishop of Lansing