In 2 Chronicles 28 we have the sad history of King Ahaz, who closed the doors of the city’s temple and extinguished the candles before the altar of sacrifice. Deprived of right worship, the city quickly became weak and chaotic. The Arameans took advantage of Jerusalem’s weakness and marched on the city, destroying much of it and leading its citizens off to captivity. Ahaz’s son, however, “good King Hezekiah,” reopened the temple and relit the lamps within a month of his taking office. He restored right worship and the city became rightly-ordered again, strong enough to defend itself against enemy powers.
Yesterday the Archbishop of San Francisco led one thousand people from City Hall to the Cathedral. He led them with an upraised monstrance to the City’s Eucharistic temple, where twenty priests offered Masses for the people. We fed them with the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist. The Archbishop “reopened” the temple, so to speak, and “relit” the lamps. The City, this morning, is much stronger for it.
When I arrived at Star of the Sea six years ago the doors of the church were closed, like just about every other diocesan parish. Pope Francis had just called the priests to “reopen” the churches and “turn the lights on” for the people. We did so, and the parish went from moribund to flourishing. A joyful peace has reordered the parish. My priestly vocation is inspired by Pope John Paul II, who called the people to Aprite le Porte—throw open the doors to right worship.
The “demonstration” yesterday at City Hall and the Cathedral was about one thing: reopening the doors of our churches, which have been closed too long. “We need the sacraments” one sign read, and another, “Dios es esencial.” God is essential. Let the pastors of the Church reopen their doors to God’s people!