Wednesday of Holy Week

Jesus Dwells with Us

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory,  glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14

Many years ago, when I was in the Episcopal Church, I was one of the spiritual directors on a Cursillo weekend.  During the weekend, one of the other spiritual directors was giving a talk on the Real Presence of Christ.  He pointed out that when the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus is in the tabernacle, it is appropriate to genuflect—to go down on one knee—before the Lord’s Presence.  However, when the Sacrament is removed from tabernacle and displayed in a monstrance or a pyx on the Altar, it is appropriate to do a full solemn bow on both knees.  He demonstrated how to do that.  He then explained that when the King is on His throne and we can see Him face to face, we honor Him with a profound, humble bow.  Then, Fr. Lee turned and fell on both knees before the gathered Cursillistas (the participants in the weekend), and bowed before them.  He rose to his feet and said, “You are the Body of Christ.  I can see the King face to face when I see you!”  Later I told him that it was a powerful moment, that there were numerous shocked expressions on the faces of the people.  He said, “Yeah, it’s kind of hokey, but it makes a legitimate point.”

We do honor the Lord when we genuflect before the sacrament.  We drop to one knee whenever we pass before the tabernacle in the sanctuary.  In the Scripture quoted above from John’s prologue, we know that Jesus dwells with us.  The word John uses for “dwell” literally means He “pitched His tent with us.”  There may have been in John’s mind a recollection of the tabernacle in the wilderness—the tent where the Ark of the Covenant resided.  God pitched His tent with Israel.  And in Jesus, He pitched His tent in the Person of His Son.  The King is present with His people.  Yes, He dwells with us!  

Jesus told His disciples that, “You know him (the Spirit), for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17).  And St. Paul emphasized the fact that Christ dwells in us, saying, “I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:14-17).  Fr. Lee was right.  We are bearers of the One who was made incarnate.  Jesus dwells in us.  And He fills us with His grace and truth.  That is the Gospel.  That is the Good News of life in the New Jerusalem. 

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