2nd Tuesday in Ordinary Time
Dedication of Cathedral of Rochester Diocese
The Samaritan Pentateuch maintained that God has chosen Mount Gerizim to establish His name. In fact their 10th commandment was the sanctity of Mount Gerizim. For the Jews it was the Temple Mount of Moriah in Jerusalem. The major issue between Jews and Samaritans was the Chosen Place to worship God.
In the ancient world, places acquired properties of holiness because the divine was manifested there and there only. To encounter God you had to travel to a place. When place becomes so important, you wonder if God is not limited by place itself. The Samaritans were hung up on place. This is why Jesus would tell the Samaritan woman ‘ You people worship what you do not understand.’ In this sense the Jews had advanced further because everything in Israel was geared toward the Messiah. They were not just hung up on place. They did not go far enough though. Jesus however has to take us beyond. He provides a profoundly new vision of the holy place. Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.
Henceforth the place of God’s manifestation is not tied up with a physical space. A physical place cannot change the human spirit. Something more is needed. The new place of God’s manifestation is Jesus. Not Jesus as the earthly Messiah, who is limited to a nation and place. But Jesus, Risen from the dead, who is Spirit. He is the First and the Last, the beginning and the end. The Risen Christ has broken the bonds of historical limitation. His life can weave itself into the fabric of our lives. He can transform us because Jesus is Spirit. Just as no locked door could keep out the Risen Christ, so no heart can be far off from Christ who is Spirit. Because we are all in Him, as St Paul insists again and again – He is the new place where we find ourselves. More than holy places, we who are in Christ are the holy place because we are living stones in the Body of Christ. And while our cathedrals are magnificent, there is nothing more magnificent than the Mystical Body of Christ where each of us, find given to us from all eternity that place, that secret name according to the measure of Christ’s grace to us.