The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Tabernacle is Empty

How stark is the empty tabernacle after the Holy Thursday mass! What a brilliant symbol of what we honor: the one who was our hope has been betrayed, and we who want to be hopeful could well be lost.

At Gesu Parish in Detroit, a Jesuit parish, the ornate brass cube of the tabernacle – weighty in appearance and symbolism - sits in an opening in the wrought iron screen behind the main altar. On the other side of screen and tabernacle is the daily mass chapel, and in this chapel too the same tabernacle sits behind the altar. A pair of the tabernacle’s brass doors faces the main altar, and an opposite pair face the daily mass altar. Following the Holy Thursday mass both pairs of doors are opened, the sanctuary lamps extinguished, and the altars stripped.

Seeing the empty chamber of a tabernacle tears at my gut. But when I first looked through the tabernacle at Gesu Parish – and saw nothing but the same world I inhabit on this side – the sight doubled, tripled, quadrupled the symbol’s wrenching power.

This is the genius of Catholicism: to create symbols that embody meaning beyond words. This is why I love being Catholic. At a glance the voided tabernacle says, The man we loved as friend and Lord is taken from us by those who hate and revile him. And we are left here alone, with only our fears to aggravate us to discouragement and despair. At the level of symbol, we don’t know and can’t know the end of the story.

So, what can we do? We wait in silence, in prayer, and at midnight must leave the church. Then go to bed, hoping yet fearing tomorrow. We know God has been good to us, and this man said he was one with the God who loved us. Will this God act on our behalf?


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