DEFILING GOD’S TEMPLE

Friday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time             

            Today’s gospel reading is known as “the cleansing of the temple.” The temple in Jerusalem was seen as God’s dwelling place. But what Jesus is saying is: “I am God’s dwelling place among you.” “My body is now the sacred dwelling place of God.” In cleansing the temple and announcing its destruction, Jesus shows that he himself is the New Temple, the authentic dwelling place of God on earth. (Robert Barron)

            By virtue of our baptism, we have been united or ‘grafted’ onto Christ. Robert Barron, in his commentary on today’s gospel, says, “In the measure that we are grafted onto Christ, we too become temples of the Holy Spirit.” St. Paul, in his Letter to the Corinthians (3:16-17), tells us to see ourselves as God’s temple, and as such we are a sacred people. “You are God’s building… Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Then Paul warns us sternly: “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.”

            If we believe that our bodies are a gift from God where his Spirit dwells, then to abuse our bodies is matter of being a bad caretaker of God’s gift. It is being irresponsible as a steward. How can “anyone destroy God’s temple,” as St. Paul puts it? Actually there are many ways, but let me just mention some of them: Over-eating, ignoring good health information, failing to practice good diet and to exercise regularly. Over-working and over-stressing our physical bodies and our mental faculties. Wrong use of medication, particularly of beauty products with side effects, abuse of drugs that leads to addiction which eventually pickles one’s liver. Pag-aabuso sa katawan dahil sa mga bisyo – tulad ng pag-inom ng alak at paninigarilyo.

            Again, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and, according to St. Paul, we should cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit. And we should make sure that the actions we choose and the lifestyle we embrace reflect this truth. We have to put to death the sin in our lives and reclaim our lives for the work and dwelling place of God. We ought to remember this and keep this to heart: Anything that destroys God’s temple is a sacrilege. Anything that violates or defiles its sacredness is a sin.

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