- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

January 21, 2016

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

Ezekiel 43: 1 – 2, 3c – 7a; John 4: 19 – 24

The reading from the Prophet Ezekiel presents us with a commentary on the reality of a sacred place, a place like Sacred Heart Cathedral, on the anniversary of its renovation. Of course, the experience of Ezekiel is not limited to the cathedral – it is about any church, about our Abbey Church.

Most graciously God gave Ezekiel an extraordinary privilege; in a vision he experienced grace in a most unusual way: “I saw the glory of God of Israel coming from the east. I heard a sound like the roaring of many waters…” He saw and heard “grace” – and this grace filled the Temple, the sacred place, with the glory of God.

Then God spoke to Ezekiel in very human terms: “…this is where my throne shall be, this is where I will set the soles of my feet.” God’s promise to Ezekiel is reality, a fact we accept with total confidence.

When we are in this church or any church, for that matter, it may be that we are no so gifted as Ezekiel to see or hear grace but neither seeing nor hearing deprives us of the experience of grace itself, the Presence of God, the Presence that flows out from the Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle – the stream of Life (with a capital “L”).

The divine, silent Presence meets our own presence and there is the flow of the water of life, there is the radiance of love beyond all telling, there is the embrace of the Holy Trinity reaching into our depths with surpassing mercy. This is the Divine Presence – dynamic, alive, passionately desirous – but it can be limited and even without any effect unless we have made an act of the will, an act of faith to receive it.

Such an act of faith, an act of the will is what Jesus was teaching the Samaritan woman when He said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.” Worship in Spirit and truth can only exist in the life of one who is committed to a life-giving relationship with the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells us of God’s desire for us: “…indeed the Father seeks such people to worship Him.” We are such people whom God seeks – may our lives always reflect this so that, as Psalm 21 proclaims, the Lord may lay upon us “majesty and splendor” and that we may “rejoice with the joy” of His presence.