.- In his daily Mass homily Pope Francis reflected on the many reasons that we gather together to pray, noting that of all of these, the praise and worship of God should take priority over everything else.
“Above all to worship, in the temple they worship the Lord. And this is the most important point,” the Pope emphasized in his Nov. 22 daily homily.
Pope Francis directed his reflections to those present in the Saint Martha guesthouse of the Vatican, where he has chosen to reside.
Centering his homily on the day’s first reading from the first book of Maccabees in which the ancient Jewish temple in Jerusalem was being re-built, the Pope highlighted how “The temple is the place where the community goes to pray, to praise the Lord, to render thanks, but above all to worship.”
This idea, continued the pontiff, also “applies to the liturgical ceremony,” asking those in attendance “in this liturgical ceremony, what is most important?”
“The songs, the rites,” he pressed, observing that all of these things are beautiful, but that “More important is the adoration: the whole community unites to see the altar where the sacrifice is celebrated and adored.”
Turning his attention to the fact that not everyone holds this worship as a first priority, the Pope voiced that “I believe – I say this humbly – that maybe we Christians have lost a little the sense of adoration.”
“We think: we go to the temple, we come together as brothers – that is good, it’s beautiful! – but the center is where God is. And we adore God.”
Recalling how Jesus in the Gospel chased away those who were doing business inside of the temple, Pope Francis asked if our churches and liturgical ceremonies today really allow us to worship and adore God.
Referring to how Saint Paul speaks of our bodies as “temples of the Holy Spirit,” the pontiff affirmed that “I am a temple. The Spirit of God is in me. And he also tells us: 'Do not grieve the Spirit of the Lord that is inside of you!'”
“Maybe we can't speak of adoration like before,” he noted, but we can speak “of a kind of adoration that is the heart.”
It is the heart “that seeks the spirit of the Lord…within himself and that knows God is inside of him, and the Holy Spirit is inside of him. Listens to him and follows him.”
To follow the Lord faithfully, noted the pontiff, requires a continuous purification, because we are sinners, adding that we do this through prayers, penance, and the Sacraments, particularly those of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
The Pope concluded his homily by explaining that when the Apostle Paul speaks of the “glory of the temple, he speaks of this: all of the community in adoration, in prayer, in thanksgiving, in praise.”
“I pray with the Lord, who is inside of me because I am a ‘temple,’” he explained, “I listen, I am available.”
“May the Lord grant us this true meaning of the temple, to be able to go forward in our lives of adoration and of listening to the Word of God.”