Dear Parish Family:
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
The tearing of the veil of the sanctuary is no small matter. The earthly temple in Jerusalem was a symbol built by human hands of what was to come: the true temple in Christ’s flesh. The veil of the sanctuary separated an area called Holy from the Holy of Holies, an area into which only the high priest could enter, and then only once a year.
That the veil was torn from top to bottom indicates that it was torn by divine and not human means. Bear in mind that the veil was torn as the soldier’s lance pierced the side of Christ. The old was passing away; something new was taking its place. The time of the temple was over, for in three days Christ would raise up a new temple not built by human hands.
No longer did a curtain separate God and man, making the point beyond which no one could pass; no longer were we left separated from our God. Christ is Emmanuel, which means God with us. No longer would the people of God exist in a relationship with Him that was mediated by the Levittic priesthood; priests of the Order of Melchizedek now unite us to our God in a way that was previously unimagined: the Most Holy Eucharist, which is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ Himself, true God and true man.
God is with us, bringing us the Bread of Life and inviting us into a relationship with Himself. The old was no longer required; it was excelled by the new.
The tearing of the temple veil is both a casting off and a taking on. The time of the temple had drawn to a close; the time of the Church had come. It was not a radical break, but a fundamental altering. The way of worship was transforming… or, more exactly, the how of worship was forever altered; the why of worship is unchanging. No longer are we separated by a curtain from our Lord and God, for now we see Him truly present in the Holy Eucharist, which He gave us for our salvation.
In Christ, all things are made new.