Signs of Holiness – The Veiled Tabernacle
You have probably noticed that there are now veils over top of the tabernacles in our two church buildings. In both the Old and New Testaments, veils were placed in the vicinity of places and liturgical items of notable sanctity and importance. In the Book of Exodus, we read that when the People of Israel built their tent or tabernacle sanctuary in the desert, the holiest part of the tent, where the Ark of the Covenant resided, was concealed behind a veil or curtain to indicate the utmost sanctity of this portion of the tent. When the Temple was constructed in Jerusalem, the back portion of the Temple, known as a Holy of Holies, was hidden behind a large curtain. The Holy of Holies was understood to be the throne room of God and the holiest place on earth. When Christians began to construct churches, it became the custom to place a veil overtop of the tabernacle where the Body of Christ was kept. Since the Holy Eucharist is the Church’s greatest treasure and the great sign and reality of God’s Holy Presence among us, it is fitting that our tabernacles are concealed beneath a veil to remind us that Jesus Christ is mysteriously in our midst, inviting us spend time with Him and speak to Him in the silence of our hearts. In addition, the tabernacle veils also help us to remember what liturgical season we are currently celebrating. The colours of the tabernacle veils correspond to the following liturgical seasons:
Green: Weekdays and Sundays of Ordinary Time.
White: Weekdays and Sundays of Christmas and Easter, in addition to memorials, feasts and solemnities of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Saints and Angels.
Purple: Weekdays and Sundays of Advent and Lent.
Red: Palm Sunday, Pentecost and the feasts and solemnities of the Holy Apostles and Martyrs.