Daily Reflection
November 21st, 2003
Eileen Wirth
Journalism Department
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Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59
1 Chronicles 29:10, 11, 11-12, 12
Luke 19:45-48

When I was young, it was fashionable to question why we even needed church buildings to worship. Couldn't we find God just as well at a lake or park? Today's readings provoke reflection on whether sacred spaces are important.

In the first reading, the Maccabees cleanse their temple before worshiping; in the second, Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. If we can find God anywhere, possibly even shopping malls, what difference does it make that people were selling things in the temple?

At one time, I would have said worship places per se are no big deal. The older I get, the more I understand why we need sacred spaces to lead sane lives.

Instinctively, I think of what St. John's Church, that wonderful gray gothic stone edifice that has stood guard over the Creighton campus for a century, has meant in my life. It's amazing how much emotional baggage gets invested in your church building. When I enter St. John's for Saturday evening Mass, I'm reminded of:

"Rousing Saturday midnight guitar Masses during the 1970's when we could stay awake that late!

"Joyful Christmas Eve Midnight Masses when the 90-minute musical prelude and liturgy ends much too soon.

"Stopping in to visit when I was teaching part time and praying that I would get my current faculty position.

"The annual Mass of the Holy Spirit which always rededicates me to our Jesuit educational mission and sense of community.

"Sitting in St. John's and reflecting in the absolute quiet when I have a major problem or project."

It's no wonder that on 9-11, a thousand people jammed St. John's for noon Mass. They knew they would find there what they've always found at times of crisis: comfort, community, strength for the journey and a reminder of eternal values.

Maybe gathering in Rigge Science Auditorium would have had the same impact but I doubt it. Perhaps God doesn't need sacred spaces -but we do!

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