Why Build the Temple?

Cosmas Damian apse

We read in the book of the prophet Haggai, “This people says: Now is not the time to build the temple of God.”

Ok. Let’s give this people the benefit of the doubt. After all, the Lord Himself declared that He does not dwell in piles of stone erected by human hands. The heavens are God’s throne and the earth His footstool. What kind of temple could we build for such a god, the Lord Who made heaven and earth out of nothing?

So: Good point, people. How could now be the time to build a temple for God, when we could never hope to build an adequate temple?

But then, as we read, God said: Consider your ways, people. You don’t want to pour out your energy and money to build My house? Ok. But what kind of lives do you really have going anyway? Are you thriving? Are you happy? Don’t you labor long and hard to earn a bag full of holes? You fill your bag with what you think is happiness, but it all falls out through the holes, and you wind up with nothing.

Maybe you don’t want to presume to build My temple. But, really: what else are you going to do? What else would really be any good?

Then come the Lord’s disarmingly beautiful words, so majestic in their humble fatherliness:

Why don’t you just focus on giving Me glory? Give Me glory, and let Me take pleasure in it.

The Lord Himself builds the Temple. The Temple is Christ, Head and members, united in love to the glory of God.

Last year on the Memorial of Ss. Cosmas and Damien, we meditated for a moment on the apse mosaic in their church in Rome. In the picture, St. Peter and St. Paul present St. Cosmas and St. Damien to Christ.

Cosmas and Damien hold in their hands their crowns, which they won by joyfully living and dying for one purpose: the glory of the Lord. We can win such crowns, too.

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