|Memorial of the Presentation of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
1 Maccabees 4:36-37,
1 Chronicles 29:10, 11, 11-12, 12
When I was young, it was fashionable to question why we even
needed church buildings to worship. Couldn't we find God just as well at
a lake or park? Today's readings provoke reflection on whether sacred spaces
In the first reading, the Maccabees cleanse their temple before worshiping;
in the second, Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. If we can
find God anywhere, possibly even shopping malls, what difference does it make
that people were selling things in the temple?
At one time, I would have said worship places per se are no big deal. The
older I get, the more I understand why we need sacred spaces to lead sane
Instinctively, I think of what St. John's Church, that wonderful gray gothic
stone edifice that has stood guard over the Creighton campus for a century,
has meant in my life. It's amazing how much emotional baggage gets invested
in your church building. When I enter St. John's for Saturday evening Mass,
I'm reminded of:
"Rousing Saturday midnight guitar Masses during the 1970's when we could
stay awake that late!
"Joyful Christmas Eve Midnight Masses when the 90-minute musical prelude
and liturgy ends much too soon.
"Stopping in to visit when I was teaching part time and praying that I would
get my current faculty position.
"The annual Mass of the Holy Spirit which always rededicates me to our Jesuit
educational mission and sense of community.
"Sitting in St. John's and reflecting in the absolute quiet when I have
a major problem or project."
It's no wonder that on 9-11, a thousand people jammed St. John's for noon
Mass. They knew they would find there what they've always found at times of
crisis: comfort, community, strength for the journey and a reminder of eternal
Maybe gathering in Rigge Science Auditorium would have had the same impact
but I doubt it. Perhaps God doesn't need sacred spaces -but we do!