Following our father’s death in 2009, mom decided to remain in their home where they had lived for 45 years. She explained, “I cannot bear to leave the memories I have in this home. We loved living here. I simply cannot leave.”
Yet as the months went by our concern for her began to grow. She was continually feeling great fatigue and the stairs she climbed and descended each day were becoming too much for her. After countless family conversations, she reluctantly and tearfully agreed to move into a place where she would be safer and have more opportunities to interact with her peers.
The music drifted throughout the house and all who were present realized that this was her final farewell to the home where she had lived and loved—the home where she and my father had sheltered and cared for their eight children and blessed their twenty-seven grandchildren.
One by one each person put down their load and turned toward her. Even the men from the moving company lowered the couch and took off their caps. Everything became still as the beautiful music filled the air. Tears flowed. It was a sacred moment of farewell. When she finished playing, she picked up her purse, looked around one last time and walked out the door. I don’t believe there was a dry eye left in the house at that moment.
In the months since our mother moved, we have stopped talking about and driving by our family home. The sadness is diminishing and a new awareness has emerged that whenever we are together we are “home.” And as St. Paul so powerfully reminds us today, each of us is God’s building. Each of us is a temple: “You are God’s building…do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?...for the temple of God, which you are, is holy…”
Jesus is the building—the foundation upon which we must live. Whether the “temple” is a place of worship, a home or the sacredness of our lives, God is present. Today we might ask ourselves: “What are the “temples” in our lives? Are those “temples” leading us to God? Are we reverencing the temple of our own, unique selves?” Let us hold Paul’s words in our hearts: “…like a wise master builder I laid a foundation…no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ.”
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