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Nineteen: Respect the Holy Places

Anger is indifferent. It has no morality. It is neither good nor bad.


This is the opening statement of Fr. Ted David during his homily. In today's Gospel (John 2:13-25), Jesus got mad at the merchants who turned the temple into a public market. It's good that Fr. Ted gave a historical background on the story. According to him, during those times, the people really ought to offer a sacrifice at the temple. But since they are coming from far places, and transportation is not yet available then, they just bring money and buy their offerings near the temple. The money changers were there to convert the temple-goers' money that bore the image of Ceasar because they cannot offer to the temple that kind of money.

Jesus got mad because the temple, which is supposed to be sacred, was turned into a marketplace. It was His "zeal" (passion) for God's house that drove Him mad. For more discussions on the anger of Jesus, I encourage you to visit GotQuestions?org. They have a good explanation on the topic. :)

For this post, let me focus on the sacred places, as discussed by Fr. Ted. I just found it interesting that I actually looked for the exact statement in the Law of the Church (Canon Law).

According to Canon Law (1205 - 1243), sacred places determined by the church are only intended for prayer and worship.

Can. 1205 Sacred places are those which are designated for divine worship or for the burial of the faithful by a dedication or a blessing which the liturgical books prescribe for this purpose.

So what are the sacred places aside from the church? For our information and guidance, here are the holy places listed on the Canon Law:

1. Churches

Can. 1214 By the term church is understood a sacred building designated for divine worship to which the faithful have the right of entry for the exercise, especially the public exercise, of divine worship.


2. Oratories and Private Chapels

Can. 1223 By the term oratory is understood a place for divine worship designated by permission of the ordinary for the benefit of some community or group of the faithful who gather in it and to which other members of the faithful can also come with the consent of the competent superior.


3. Shrines

Can. 1230 By the term shrine is understood a church or other sacred place to which numerous members of the faithful make pilgrimage for a special reason of piety, with the approval of the local ordinary.


4. Altars

Can.  1235  
§1. An altar, or a table upon which the eucharistic sacrifice is celebrated, is called fixed if it is so constructed that it adheres to the floor and thus cannot be moved; it is called movable if it can be removed.
§2. It is desirable to have a fixed altar in every church, but a fixed or a movable altar in other places designated for sacred celebrations.


5. Cemeteries

Can. 1240 §1. Where possible, the Church is to have its own cemeteries or at least areas in civil cemeteries that are designated for the deceased members of the faithful and properly blessed.


For more information on what the church says about sacred places, visit http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4G.HTM.

Having known all these, let's examine ourselves and recall the moments we spent in these sacred places. Have we shown respect to these places? Have we kept them holy by not making them anything else but a place of divine worship and reverence? In Ecclesiastes, it was said that there is a time for everything. Similarly, there's also a place to rest, to eat, to study, to meet, and to do the things we need to do. Kung sa Filipino pa, "matuto sana tayong lumugar."

Let me end this post with these thoughts:

1. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)


2. The Church is the Body of Christ. We are the body of Christ. We are the Church. (1 Corinthians 12:27)


 Respect the sacred places. Respect  your body. Respect yourself. Respect others. :)

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