30th Monday in Ordinary Time
Dedication of Abbey Church
1 Kings 8: 22-23. 27-30; 1 Peter 2: 4-9; Luke 19: 1-10
Peace be to this house, and to all who enter here in faith. As we mark the anniversary of the dedication of our abbey church, allow Saint Bernard to explain the meaning of today’s feast: “What sanctity can these stones have that we should celebrate their festival? They do indeed have sanctity, but it is because of your bodies… Your bodies are holy because of your souls, and this house is holy because of your bodies.” My brothers, we are the Church of Genesee that gathers every day in this sacred space to offer the divine majesty a sacrifice of praise. Like Solomon of old, we gather in this holy temple to pray on behalf of the people God has chosen as His own. As we gather around the Table of the Word, we pray that God would speak to the hearts of all who enter this house. As we gather around the Table of the Eucharist, we pray that God would draw all who come to this place into the communion of divine love.
This beautiful church is constructed of stones and boulders that are held together by mortar. In today’s second reading, Saint Peter wrote: “You, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). Today we celebrate our vocation, our election, our call to be and to build up the Body of Christ which is the Church. As the Church of Genesee, we are the dwelling place of God. United by the bond of love, we are to live together in holiness, peace and love. As a community and within these walls, we strive to provide an oasis for our guests so that they may encounter the Living God.
As we recall the dedication of this abbey church, let us also recall all that God has done in this place. It is important to remind ourselves that God does not live in buildings made of stone and wood. Rather, God lives in the hearts of those who hear His Word and keep it. The Church of Genesee is the Brothers gathered in faith and prayer and not the building they gather in. Listen to these beautiful words taken from St. Bernard’s 5th sermon for the dedication: “Let us ask ourselves what this house of God, this temple, this city, and this bride can be. With awe and reverence I say: It is we ourselves. I say it is we ourselves, but in the heart of God; it is we ourselves, but by his grace and not by any merits of our own. …
“And so, if the abundance of our food shows us to be the house of a great Father, if holiness shows us to be God’s temple, if the sharing of a common life shows us to be the city of the great king, and if love shows us to be the bride of the immortal bridegroom, then we can surely say without hesitation that today’s feast is our feast. Nor should you be surprised that such a feast is celebrated here on earth; it is, after all, being celebrated in heaven too! Let us keep today’s feast with thanksgiving, for the fact that it is our own should make us all the more willing to celebrate it.”
God has summoned us here so that He might meet us in the temple of our hearts. Let us offer our hearts in a spiritual act of worship and dedication to God. Let us walk with the assurance that God has pitched His tent in us. In this place and in every place, to Him be all honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.