The elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes,
the princes in the ancestral houses of the children of Israel,
came to King Solomon in Jerusalem,
to bring up the ark of the LORD’s covenant
from the City of David, which is Zion.
All the people of Israel assembled before King Solomon
during the festival in the month of Ethanim (the seventh month).
When all the elders of Israel had arrived,
the priests took up the ark;
they carried the ark of the LORD
and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels
that were in the tent.
(The priests and Levites carried them.)
King Solomon and the entire community of Israel
present for the occasion
sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen
too many to number or count.
The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD
to its place beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary,
the holy of holies of the temple.
The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark,
sheltering the ark and its poles from above.
There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets
which Moses had put there at Horeb,
when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel
at their departure from the land of Egypt.
When the priests left the holy place,
the cloud filled the temple of the LORD
so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud,
since the LORD’s glory had filled the temple of the LORD.
Then Solomon said, “The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud;
I have truly built you a princely house,
a dwelling where you may abide forever.”
After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.
I. THEME: Human beings must give thanks to the author of life.
In human world, we used to see two typical kinds of people. One kind spends time to learn and to find out the truth, the origin and the cause of things, as one of scientist confessed: “I had found God in the world.” Another said: “I had found God in the laboratory.” These people didn’t see God because He is invisible but they saw His effects in the world. In opposition, other kind is lazy, they don’t spend time to learn history of the world and humankind or to find out the origin or the cause of things; they also let their pride take over so that they proclaimed some very arrogant statements. For examples, F. Nietzsche, an existentialist, declared: “I had killed God.” Another, K. Mark, the originator of Communism, derided religions: “Religion is the opium of the people.”
If people are humble and eager to learn about history of the world and of humankind, they shall know the earth is just one small and fragile of many planets, not the center of the universe as many thought. The earth can’t support itself but relies on other planets, especially two planets: the sun and the moon. When people recognize their weakness and fragility, they shall be more humble, in gratitude, and relied on the Creator’s wisdom, power and strength.
Today readings help us to recognize the contrast between the powerful Creator and human weakness. In the first reading, king Solomon dedicated the Jerusalem Temple and carried the Ark to the most sacred place of the Temple. He knew God’s presence is the reason for the survival of his nation. God let people know His presence by columns of thick cloud that covered up the Temple. In the Gospel, Jesus, the author of life, healed all sickness and returned healthy life to people. Two conditions which people needed to be healed are to recognize their sickness and to come to Jesus.
1/ Reading I: “I have built thee an exalted house, a place for thee to dwell in for ever.”
1.1/ The dedication of the Jerusalem Temple: The desire to have a temple for the Ark of God began with David; but God didn’t want David to build up for Him a temple because his hands became impure with Uriah’s innocent blood. God had this priviledge preserved for Solomon, David’s son. Though he wasn’t permitted to build a temple, David prepared many building materials so his son could carry out this project.
Today passage reported the day of which the First Jerusalem Temple was dedicated. King Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel, before him in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
All the men of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. All the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. The priests and the Levites brought up the Ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent. Then, King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. Then, the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
1.2/ God presented in the Jerusalem Temple: The purpose of building up the temple isn’t for God’s sake because all the universe can’t contain him; but it is for human sake. People need a physical place so they can be sure that God is dwelling among them and they can come to worship Him, to offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins, and be protected by Him.
Today passage verified God’s presence among His people because when the priests came out of the holy place, “a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the God’s house. Then Solomon said, “The Lord has set the sun in the heavens, but has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. I have built thee an exalted house, a place for thee to dwell in for ever.”
The columns of cloud was the sign of God’s presence when the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Everytime they saw the column of clouds, they know God’s presence with them. The dedication of the temple marked the official ending of the wandering time. From now, God settled in the Temple, instead of the Tabernacle; and His people can come to the Temple to worship Him.
2/ Gospel: Jesus healed all human sickness.
2.1/ Sickness threatens human life: Though God created everything good, but evil always threaten human life; one of common evils is sickness. There are many causes of sickness; two of main causes are the pollution and human irresponsibility. To avoid sickness, people need to be educated so they can protect the surrounding environment and their own life.
2.2/ People recognized the author of life: Mark reported: “And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him, and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and besought him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it, were made well.”
How many people were healed by Jesus? We don’t know because the author didn’t give us a consice number; but it must be many according to Mark. People were healed by just touching the fringe of Jesus’ garment, because he had power to heal all sickness. Two conditions people must meet to be healed: first, they must recognize of their sickness; and second, they must come to Jesus, or to be carried out near to him.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must confess that God is the author of life. He created all things, such as: water, land, light, seeds… to protect life of all creation. It is not accident as many thought.
– God not only created and let creation to live by itselves, but He also controls and provided necessary things for all creation to develop and to come to their fulfillment. He always presents among people to educate, to heal and to protect them.
– By keenly observing nature and carefully reading Scripture, we can recognize God’s presence among His creation and increase our trust in Him.