The other day I was annoyed with God. So annoyed in fact that I took a break from work and went outside. I had every intention of going on a walk to try to calm down, but I soon found myself sitting outside the little chapel just upstairs. It was as if I knew I shouldn’t go far, but instead of going inside and giving my sadness to God, I sat outside with my back to the door. I was like Elsa in the opening scene of the movie Frozen. God was just on the other side of the door waiting for me, but I was too wrapped up in my own feelings of sorrow and anger to open the door and be with Him.
I began thinking about the fifth Sorrowful Mystery and about what is (in my opinion) one of the most overlooked details in these biblical passages—the Temple veil tearing in two after Christ’s death. It’s a detail that is mentioned in three of the four Gospels, and like every other detail, it was not simply a coincidence. It’s a detail that doesn’t seem to hold much meaning for us today, so to understand the significance of the Temple veil being torn in two, we have to understand what the veil meant to the Jews of that time.
Within the temple was a massive veil that separated the part of the temple where men dwelt from the Holy of Holies, which is where God dwelt. This separation was not only a physical separation, but a symbolic one as well. The veil signified that mankind was separated from God through their sin. The high priest alone passed through the veil, to offer a sacrifice to make atonement for the sins of his people. This sacrifice was called for by the Law of Moses, and was a sign of the Old Covenant between God and the Jewish people. The tearing of the temple veil was a spiritual destruction of the temple, fulfilling Jesus’ promise to the Pharisees (see John 2:19) and it was also the ultimate fulfillment of the Old Covenant.
With Christ acting as both High Priest and Victim, His sacrifice established the new temple, which was His own body, the Church, and it established the New and Eternal Covenant. Through Christ’s death during this final Sorrowful Mystery, Christ bridged the gap between God and man. Because of the Crucifixion, mankind is no longer kept separate from God. Even more than that, man can now enter into a personal relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ.
While the Old Covenant only recognized the Israelites as the children of God, the New Covenant made redemption possible to all people, both Jew and Gentile, which leads me to the most amazing part about the tearing of the veil after Christ’s crucifixion. He didn’t simply open the door for eternal life to us, but He loved us enough to allow us the choice to enter through it. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice so we didn’t have to and He loved without any promise that we would love Him back. But He longs for us to come through the torn veil and be with Him until the end of time.
Reflection question 1: What are some ways in which you keep yourself separated from God?
Reflection question 2: In what ways is Christ trying to bridge the gap between you?
Act: Spend 15 minutes or more in silent prayer with Our Lord. Allow yourself to pass through the torn veil and simply be with Him.