TABERNACLE IN THE
The Tabernacle (Hebrew: "residence"
or "dwelling place”). The English word "tabernacle" is
derived from the Latin tabernaculum meaning "tent" or
"hut", which in ancient Roman religion was a ritual
structure. The word sanctuary is also used for the
Biblical tabernacle, as well as the phrase the "tent of
meeting". The Hebrew word Mishkan implies "dwell",
"rest", or "to live in", referring to the "[In-dwelling]
Presence of God", the Shekhina (or Shechina, based on
the same Hebrew root word as Mishkan), that dwelt within
this divinely ordained structure. A tabernacle is the
fixed, locked box in which, the Eucharist is reserved
(stored). The "reserved Eucharist" is secured there for
distribution at services, for availability to bring Holy
Communion to the sick, and as the center of attention
for meditation and prayer. The term "tabernacle" arose
for this item as a reference to the Old Testament
tabernacle which was the locus of God's presence among
the Jewish people.
The Catholic Church holds the doctrine
of transubstantiation, i.e. that Christ is "truly
present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity," though
under the appearance of bread or wine. This presence
endures after the consecration, so that even after Mass
is concluded, the Eucharistic elements are still
Christ's Real Presence.
The tabernacle is situated at the middle of the
Sanctuary so that we could imitate to put Jesus Christ
at the centre of our lives. The lights burn near the
tabernacle when the Eucharist is present is a sign to
members of the congregation that the Lord is still in
the Church. At our tabernacle, the mosaic of the Last
Supper (from Jordan) reminds us of our Holy Thursday
celebration when Jesus Christ instituted the Eucharist.
I recommend the congregation genuflect only twice i.e.
when we enter and leave the Church as a sign of respect
to the Lord.
By Fr. Fundes Motiung.