Many people say “home is where the heart is” and growing up, home was so clear. It was that old brick house on that small town street with the green carpeting and the immense feeling of love from my parents and family. I am so grateful that I grew up with that house and I’m so lucky that for every break I get to go back and lay on the same couch and watch the same TV and be unapologetically myself. But lately, “home” no longer feels like it holds the same meaning.Being in college, I am constantly moving back and forth from my house to my dorm and so forth so no particular place feels like home anymore. Even when I come “home” the walls and carpet are not “home” but rather where “home” is, because that is where my parents are. But even then “home” is where my parents are because my parents and I are united in Christ.
I’ve been abroad in Rome for three months now and the most comforting sight has become the red candle that resides next to the tabernacle. In every church there is the same red candle that sits next to the tabernacle and although the shape and style of the tabernacle changes and the holder of the candle may change, the candle itself is the same. That flame is the perfect symbol of God’s eternal presence. The flame symbolizes not only Christ in the tabernacle but also how Christ works in our lives. If we allow him into our lives he will slowly but surely consume us into himself as the flame consumes the candle and we become a part of the mystical body of Christ. As well, the red color of the candle reminds us of the blood of Christ. It invokes not only the image of He who Is on the cross, but also that He gave Himself so that we could all be one in Christ. Even more incredibly, because of God’s eternal presence and existence outside of time, every single time that I sit in front of the Lord and offer up a short prayer, I am united to every other person who has encountered Christ in the tabernacle or in the mass or in adoration. I am united to the moment of each of my parent’s baptisms. I am united to their first mass as a married couple. I am united to each of my sibling’s baptisms. I am united to every single mass that we have gone to together as a family. My heart is united to Christ’s heart, which makes me united to their lives more fully than I could be if I were with them in person. So it’s hard to feel far away from them when I am closer to them in a Catholic church than I could be when I am sitting next to them. I guess this is why going to mass with them is my favorite part of being home because it is the best of both. Not only do I get to smile at them when we make a mistake saying the creed or when the priest accidentally says the deacon’s part, but I also get to be united to them through being united to Christ. And where Christ is, so there too I must try to be because being with him, is being home.
No, home is no longer that brick house, or the comfort of lying on the couch and watching a good football game (although I am very much looking forward to those things again). Home is Christ and I feel at home with my parents and my family and now my friends because they are united to Christ in the Eucharist as I am and together we bring each other closer. We bring each other closer to home.
So you too should go home. No I don’t mean to your house. Go home to God’s house because that’s where we belong. Where we all are invited to go and be home. Where we each can be a part of the mystical body of Christ and can share in the union of the Trinity. This is the home that we were all made for.