We hear today, in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, that we are each God’s temple; 1 Corinthians 3.9-11, 16-17. Do we truly believe this? Are we conscious of this, in our daily lives? And are we living like we are temples of God? Reflecting on these questions lead me to think, ‘What is the purpose of a temple?’ Two things come to mind; firstly, that a temple is a physical place of worship and prayer, a place to give thanks to God. Secondly, the temple is a place of encounter, where God is truly present. This is something very powerful to say then, that our bodies, as temples, are physical places of worship and prayer and they are also physical dwelling places of God.
In the gospel of John(2.13-22) we see Jesus casting out the animals from his temple, which had become a marketplace, a place where money is god. Jesus’ zeal shows us that we also have fallen short. At times, we are not so different from the moneychangers when we have allowed our own selfishness, greed, gossip, lies, or judgements of others to dwell in our hearts. To show God’s glory we need to be aware that we are broken, but allow God’s living water, His sacraments and holy scripture, to renew us from the inside and remind us that we are meant for glory. The way I see it, when we give thanks to God and give Him praise throughout our daily activities we are also creating a dwelling place for Him to live in us and cleanse us by His very presence. This is a great gift that we have, as people of the new covenant, a gift we can easily take for granted. We need to remind ourselves that in the old covenant(or Old Testament) God’s dwelling place was the temple, in the very heart of the sanctuary, only accessible to priests. However, in the new covenant(or New Testament) God has sent His Son(and His Spirit) to us, that He may be present in our very bodies, in the sanctuary of our hearts. What a huge gift. He makes himself so present to us.
Today as we come to this great sacrament, as Jesus gives himself to us, let us be mindful that He enters the temple of our bodies to make us a holy dwelling place of His love and His glory. May His living water flow through us and be life for us, and for the world.