Sts. Matthew, Mark and Luke each relate that at the moment of Jesus' death, the
veil in the sanctuary in the temple was torn in two (Mt. 27:51;Mark 15:38;Luke
23:45). Only St. John relates, however, that after Jesus was already dead on
the cross, a Roman soldier with a lance "breached the wall of the holy
temple" ( St. John Chyrsostom, cited in Heart
of the Redeemer, p.88):
"One soldier thrust his lance into his side and
immediately, bloodand water flowed out"
Here, the holy temple in question is the
Temple of Jesus' own Body (see John 2:21). As we read in the Roman Missal, "You
made the Body of Your Son…the Temple consecrated to you" (preface for the
ritual mass for "The Dedication of a church and an altar", p. 1070). From
within the "Temple wall", now breached, comes forth 'the fragrance of the
sweetest incense, and the rich aroma of perfumes, from the scented Sanctuary
and aromatic Altar'. The Temple of his Body is opened to all.
We are reminded that during the time of the
Exodus, the people of the desert generation witnessed Moses strike the rock at Massah and Meribah (Ex. 17:5-6).
There, water gushed forth from the rock to quench their thirst. St. Paul,
referring to this event, says, "They drank from the spiritual rock…the rock
was Christ"(1Cr. 10:4). In
chapter 47 of The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel describes a
vision he has had of the Temple in Jerusalem:
"I saw water flowing out from beneath the
threshold of the temple toward the east"
The direction of the east symbolizes
the Resurrected Lamb, the "sun who rises and never sets", through whomthe "dawning" of a new age in the history of
salvation has come. In Ezekiel's vision this water originates from the altar of
offering in the temple. This vision is fulfilled in the piercing of Jesus'
heart while he hangs on the "altar of the cross":
"This is the fountain of life which takes its rise
from the wound of Christ and washes over the whole earth"
the Redeemer, p. 45).
the altar of Jesus' heart this life-giving stream goes forth to heal, to
freshen--to transform a wounded, sinful world. The ends of the earth are
"watered by the flow from the sanctuary" of his love. The new Sanctuary is his
risen body: Jesus is the holy Sanctuary of the presence of God. Intercessors
are called to take part in the holiness of this Temple: "For the temple of
God, which you are, is holy" (1 Cr. 3:17B). We unite our prayer and
offering with the "fragrant flow"--the life-giving power that originates from
the altar of Jesus' own heart. Our intercession--united to the unique mediation
of the Lamb of God--becomes life-giving streams for humanity--streams of grace
cascading--witnessing to the inexhaustible vitality of love.
1) How am I experiencing the
'fragrance' of Jesus' Love in my life right now?
2) How is God calling the 'temple of
my body' to a deeper holiness?
Ps. 46:5-6; Is. 44:3; Zech. 14:8;
John 4:13-14; 1Cr. 3:16-17.
This week as we approach the 100th
anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary's appearances in Fatima, let's unite our
prayer and pray that the intentions in the Immaculate Heart of Mary be