The Church, a Tent, and a House

Lenten Reflections 2016

“Until I find a place for the Lord, a tent for the God of Jacob” (Ps 131[132]:5). Although sometimes God’s tent is called God’s house, and God’s house God’s tent, we may distinguish between them: the Church is a tent at this time and it is a house in the heavenly Jerusalem to which we are going. Tents are for soldiers and fighters when on a campaign, ready for battle; that’s why soldiers are called contubernales, tent-companions, sharing the same tents. As long as we have an enemy, then, we make a tent for God. But when the time for fighting has passed and that peace comes that surpasses all understanding, as the Apostle says (Ph 4:7), ... when that homeland comes, it will be a house, no adversary will test it, and it won’t be called a tent anymore. We won’t go out of it to fight; we’ll stay inside in order to praise God. What is said of that house? “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, they will praise you forever” (Ps 83[84]:5). We still groan in the tent, but in the house we will praise. Why? Because groaning is for wanderers, praise for people living together in the homeland. But here we have first to seek a tent for the God of Jacob. (EnPs 131[132], 10; PL 37, 1720)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

Also by this author
How to Ascend

Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads

Religion
Culture
Culture
Books
Books
Collections
Collections