We all enjoy celebrations, times when we rejoice at something good. During celebrations, despite our problems and difficulties, we celebrate the good and look to the future with hope.
The Hebrews had a lot to celebrate. Today’s reading, 1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13, telling how the Ark, containing the Tablets of the Law, was brought into a temple built for it, was a celebration of God’s love for them, the people He brought out of slavery and chose as His own out of all the nations. The temple would be a sign of God’s presence, a focus for their worship and sacrifices. This sign of God’s presence helped their faith.
In the Gospel, Mark 6:53-56, we see a different picture. Times were bad again; the Hebrews were now oppressed by the Romans. Their only hope was that God had promised, through the prophets, to send His Anointed One. They believed this Anointed One was Jesus of Nazareth, who had now come to this very shore. Jesus would be the new sign of God’s presence, the new temple. He related to them in a personal way, teaching them about God, showing that He was the fulfilment of the Law, and healing their diseases. They delighted in and celebrated His presence, just as their ancestors had celebrated the Ark coming to the temple. Jesus was to become the Sacrifice of the new temple.
In 1 Kings, the Word of God was present in the two tablets of the Law. In Mark, he was present as the Word made Flesh. He promises to be even closer to us today: The Word made Flesh wants to become flesh in our hearts through the faith of those who believe in Him. He promises to be with us always, to the end of time. Surely this is the best reason of all to celebrate.