The Old Testament Book of Samuel details how the tribes of Israel were united into a single Kingdom. This transition was not easy, in fact, the condition for the possibility of a united Israelite Kingdom was a crucible of violence.
Israelites fought to clear the land of enemy tribes and rival kingdoms.
Israelites fought Israelites for the sake of power and glory.
When the battles were all fought and the dust cleared, David was the King.
With the warlike days over, David set about establishing a legacy for himself. David the warrior became David the builder and today we hear of his plans to construct a temple for the God of the Israelites, a fitting house for worship that would also serve as testimony to David for generations.
We learn that David’s plans to build a temple are frustrated the Lord God himself- it is not the Lord’s desire that David build a temple, but that the Son of David build a temple.
David’s son, Solomon, would build a magnificent temple, but this is only a foreshadowing of the temple that the Son of David would create. The real temple, the true temple, would be built by Christ the Lord, the one whom the Gospel acclaims to be the Son of David- and the temple Christ the Son of David would create would not be a monument of stone, but of flesh and blood. The true temple is the Body of Christ’s human nature.
The true temple is Christ the Lord himself.
The temple of Christ Body is made present to us in the Church, for the Church is the Incarnation of Christ extended in space and time. The worship of the temple of Christ’s temple is the Mass, and it is in the Mass that we enter into the sanctuary of Christ’s temple and once there, in his sanctuary, we share Holy Communion with his Body and his Blood.
Thus the promise of the Lord to David recalled today by the Church in our reading from the Book of Samuel, is fulfilled here, in this Mass, and in every Mass the Church offers.
All this signals to us that there is much more going on in the Scriptures than the merely literal and that there is much more going on in the Sacraments than what the senses perceive. To be a disciple of the Lord Jesus is to open oneself to ways of seeing and understanding that takes us beyond the limitations of our prosaic experience and into a deep mysticism.
The deep mysticism of which I speak is not limited to our experiences of the Scriptures or the Sacraments, but it is the Scriptures and the Sacraments that give order and are essential to making sense of the mysteries that God discloses. The Scriptures call us to the temple of Christ while the Sacraments take us within the temple of Christ.
The Lord doesn’t want us lingering outside the temple he has created for us, he wants us to dwell within his temple.
Our lives are revealed in Jesus Christ to be suffused with his divine life and presence. God has united himself to us in Christ in all things, and thus all the events and experiences of life, even the raw facts of our sufferings and our grief, can serve as routes of access to him.
Thus, a disciple of the Lord Jesus will inevitably become a mystic for the disciple recognizes, as all mystics do, that the one, true God who transcends the world also makes the world his home and as such we are invited to encounter him, as he presents himself to us, in real space and real time, in real history, and in the Real Presence of his Body and his Blood.
This is the deep mysticism that Scriptures evoke and the Sacraments deliver- the deep mysticism of an encounter with God in Christ, not simply in heaven far away, but right here and right now, in the Blessed Sacrament he invites us to receive.