Don’t mistake an imitation for the real thing. There never seems to be a good use for the word “fake.” We do not like people to be fake. We do not usually consider “fake” food as good as the real stuff. We can look at a picture that seems to be too good to be true, and conclude it is fake. Even #alexfromtarget originally thought the picture of him that made him an internet star and put him on the Ellen show thought the picture of him was fake. It was too good to be true.
And yet there are times when trying to make an imitation of something is a good thing. There are wiffle ball tournaments to benefit a foundation named for former BU hockey player Travis Roy, whose college career was only eleven seconds before a check left him paralyzed. The wiffle ball tournaments are played on two replica fields: Little Fenway and Little Wrigley. An imitation that is made and looks very much like the original can be treasured. Churches too can be made as imitations of more famous structures.
And I thought of imitations when I read today’s gospel. The disciples are admiring the beauty of the Temple. But Jesus reminds them that the Temple is an imitation of the real Temple which is in heaven. Jesus warns them not to confuse the Temple here on earth, as beautiful as it is, with the true Temple in heaven.
We are warned about this because we can be taken in by such things. We can confuse the lesser for the greater. It is important for us to keep this in perspective when we think of the beauty of church buildings. While they serve to remind us of heaven, we cannot confuse their beauty with the object they are supposed to remind us about. A church building is designed to help us to raise our minds, hearts and souls to heaven, which helps us to see how we can live out God’s will here on earth. But it is not heaven.