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OUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF GOD
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 33rd Week of the Year, November 18, 2011
1 Macc. 4:36-37, 52-59, 1 Chron. 29, Luke 19:45-48


"And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, ‘It is written, "My house shall be a house of prayer"; but you have made it a den of robbers'" (Luke 19:45-46).


Today Jesus purifies the temple. We are the temple of God. "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are" (1 Cor. 3:16-17). If we are God's temple with the Spirit of God living in us, we should respect our body. Our body is not an indifferent object. It is holy, and we should respect it and not just use it in any sort of way, but rather always with respect. This includes how we dress and behave with others.


Outside of marriage, we should not use our body for sexual pleasure in any way. To do so destroys the temple of God, and "if any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple is holy, and that temple you are" (1 Cor. 3:17). "The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1 Cor. 6:13). All forms of impurity are against the sanctity of the body, which is God's temple. Therefore we should not sow to the flesh, but to the Spirit. "For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life" (Gal. 6:8). If we use our body for sexual pleasure, that pleasure will dominate our mind and spirit and distance us from God, "for the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other" (Gal. 5:17). If the desires of the flesh dominate our mind and spirit, we cannot serve God well.


This is why we should be careful about our body and consider and treat it as God's temple. We must renounce the desires of the flesh. Therefore St. Paul says, "Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). Since we do not want to be dominated by the desires of the flesh, "those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal. 5:24).


We should reject all that arouses the desires of the flesh. "if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25). We cannot serve both God and the desires of the flesh. We can serve only one master (Matt. 6:24). If we choose the flesh, we lose the Spirit. "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Gal. 6:7). "Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light ... Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Rom. 13:12, 14).


"To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace ... and those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:6, 8). We should guard and respect our body as God's temple and not use it to satisfy the desires of the flesh. All have these desires, but we are to renounce them. Jesus wants to purify the temple of our body, as he purified the temple in Jerusalem. He will, if you seek this from him in persevering faith and prayer.


There are only nine days left until Advent. Let us purify ourselves now to be a pure and illuminated temple for God during the beautiful Advent-Christmas season.

 

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