Undoubtedly, summer trips are always an adventure.
Ironically, finding a church for Sunday Mass during a vacation can be an even greater adventure.
Sadly, finding the tabernacle in that church can be the greatest adventure of the summer.
After traveling to another diocese recently, my wife and I set out on our adventure to find a Mass nearby before heading home.
Thanks to Siri, finding the nearest Catholic parish was no sweat. As we walked to the front door, we admired the large brick building with its high rooftop, eager to see what the sanctuary had in store.
Upon entering the foreign church, we stopped in our tracks.
“Where’s the tabernacle?” my wife whispered.
It’s a question I was never able to answer, despite spending 62 minutes inside.
Trust me, I looked. (I even found an excuse to take my one-and-a-half-year-old son out of Mass so Dad could conduct further investigation outside the sanctuary. No luck.)
Oddly enough, the priest chose to preach about beauty. During the homily, he even lauded his “simple” sanctuary for being purposely constructed to “feel empty without people inside.”
You’re right, it does feel empty inside, I thought as I sat there. Jesus is nowhere to be found! I don’t care how many people you stuff in there—it’ll still feel empty.
You see, I learned much too late what a tabernacle is—or, most importantly,
is inside—largely because the tabernacle in my parish was not prominently placed in the sanctuary. And judging from the number of people who regularly genuflected toward the altar, I wasn’t the only one.
Sure, we can spend hours debating why tabernacles were moved and whether it was the correct decision. We can argue about Vatican II and its proper (or improper) implementation. Frankly, it’s all water under the bridge.
The Eucharist is the treasure of our Catholic faith. The tabernacle holds Jesus—body, blood, soul and divinity. The body of Christ (i.e. the people in the pews) is nothing without the
Body of Christ
I have vowed to make it a priority to teach my children what a tabernacle is, why we genuflect toward it and who is inside.
And hopefully showing it to them won’t be an adventure.
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