Have you ever noticed that the tabernacle sits in the east-facing wall of our church? This is no accident! The cardinal direction “east” has always had a deep, spiritual significance for us that goes back to the first days of Christianity.

During the time of Jesus, many schools of Jewish thought taught that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem from the east. After the Resurrection, early Christians associated the symbolism of the rising sun with Jesus’ rising from the dead. This connection was so strong that, in our worship, we attached the altar to the eastern wall of our early churches. All Christians – priest and people – would face east during the celebration of Holy Mass to remind them of the Resurrection of Jesus, the promise of their own resurrection, and the expectation of the Second Coming of Jesus.

For the early Christians, the direction they faced was more important than “who faced whom.” For example, the geography of the ancient Vatican swamp did not allow for a church built from west to east; the Holy Father always said Mass “facing the people.” However, when the Pope said Mass, the people would turn their backs to the Pope so that everyone faced east!

Over time, the east-facing posture gained great spiritual significance. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll fill you in on all the details. In the meantime, let’s train ourselves to see a beautiful sign of the Resurrection of Jesus each morning as we see the rising sun.

Fr. Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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