11 March 2007

Holy ground

One of the moments of high drama was when Moses saw the burning bush and heard the voice of God. “Moses, Moses,” God said. And then Moses was told to “put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” This was what Catholics throughout the world heard at Mass on the Third Sunday in Lent.

Of course, we might say with Christ, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” The idea of “holy ground” has been tossed out by quite a few in the past generation or so, as we slid into the age of multi-purpose church buildings and horizontal architecture.

It’s clear from scripture that there is supposed to be “holy ground” set apart for God’s worship and glory. And we’re expected to treat such places as truly holy. Part of that expectation includes dressing appropriately for worship, speaking respectfully and refraining from idle conversation when in holy places. It means having a reverent demeanor when we are in God’s House.

Let’s be careful that our churches aren’t turned into little more than ecclesiastical malls, gathering places which are simply for our convenience, rather than what they really are: the very dwelling place of the Incarnate God.