- First Reading 2 Samuel 7:1-14a
- Psalm 89:20-37
- Second Reading Ephesians 2:11-22
- Gospel Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Home. What captures your mind when you think of home? Many of you must have certain places that trigger in your memories all that is good, all that stands for the deepest yearnings toward earthly happiness that one can hope to achieve. Is it a quality of the air breathed in that place? Is it familiar landscape with a certain feel about it? Is it because of some moments of formation from the past that were particularly stirring? Is it family, loved ones, a special friend or friends who live there?
Home. How many of us have a dream house tucked away somewhere in our minds – we think, “Ah, some day when I build my own house…” that is one kind of yearning for a home. Another kind, and one closer to my heart, is the yearning for a specific relational feel – something like unconditional love – between my family members-spouse, children, and extended family. The problem with both those visions, at least for me, is that they seem out of reach so much of the time. The dream house gets put off time and time again for one reason or another-either a move to a new location and job, or one of the spouses loves one area and the other loves another and no agreement can be reached. Relationships get begun, then interruptions seem to happen at incredibly frequent times…children begin to consume our attentions and nurturing what was initially a two person relationship gets put on the back burner as survival mode parenting takes over for a nice long chapter of our lives. Or perhaps both are denied us because of lack of opportunity or lack of jobs available to us seem to keep us from those dreams.
Beyond the simple physical things and those “American dreams” that so often include a home of our own, I think there is much more to home than that. Home is a place that echoes to us of something more. It is a place of safety and security. For some it may represent that place we grew up in with loving families – those “golden days of yore.” For others it may be the place you finally escaped to when you were old enough to move out and establish your own home. There is even more than that, however.
In the spiritual sense, going home is where the soul safely resides, the place where one is most complete. That may or may not be tied directly with more concrete places or feelings of home. A spiritual home it is found at the heart of things that our souls long for. It is the authentic presence of God, of our adopted family through Baptism of which we are all a part. When one is spiritually home, it is as if for a moment heaven seems much nearer than before, almost as if we can reach out and bridge the gap between this worlds-realm and God’s divine dwelling place; the people of the present and the people of our past and future.
Today’s passage from 2 Samuel records for us the story of David finally resting at home in his palace. He imagines that God is homeless, without a Temple. David has been with the army, he has seen other parts of the Mediterranean world. Specifically he has seen the Philistine’s towns and their temple. I am not surprised that finally at home in his own palace, David decides he will build a home for God. While it is true for us that home helps us feel safe and secure, we forget that God is much bigger than that. Our God, the God of creation, cannot be contained or domesticated in any way that puts God into a box we can identify as God’s house. Our churches are houses of worship, but God does not live in them. God lives in every hungry heart that has opened itself up to God and asked God in to dwell there with us. If that is the case, then no matter where we are in a world where change it the only constant, as we journey through life we are indeed at home with God.
Let me return to more familiar thoughts about home. See if you can sense the spiritual metaphor. Going home is knowing there are open arms waiting to draw you close. Can you sense Jesus with his arms out to you? Going home is knowing there is a place prepared just for you. Jesus said he was going to the Father to prepare a place for us. Going home is knowing that the soul will come to rest on a farther shore. When it is our time to go, Jesus will welcome us. Divine hospitality waits for those who travel with Him on pilgrim feet, and it is my prayer that your path will bring you ever nearer to the bosom of God.
For me, I try to comfort myself with the long view that any expression of home that I find in this worlds-realm is upheld by a much brighter existence imprinted in the very heart of things, the heart of our ultimate and eventual Home.
As one commentator put it, “We all have our visions of our ideal home. God’s word to David reminds us that God’s own vision for our home is more intimate, greater, and more real than our own.” (Steven A. Peay, Feasting on the Word) God was faithful to David, even when David made political atrocities occur for the sake of his dynasty. That is beside the point; if we allow God to rule us from God’s dwelling place in the midst of our hearts, we will all find our way home.
May all glory be unto the One who lived, died, rose again for us and calls us home; even Him who is the Christ. Amen? May it be so.