The focus of today’s Gospel reading is the Temple of God. For John, the evangelist, the temple has two different meanings: the Temple of Jerusalem and the Body of Christ. Jesus shows that even though the first temple is the most visible and a key gathering place for the Jewish people who lived in that time, the Body of Christ will be more important because it will last forever.

The Temple of Jerusalem was important, as our temple/ church building (now being remodeled) is important for us. But we cannot forget, even when we try to improve the appearance of the building itself, that the most important part of the church and that which makes it what it is, is the abiding presence of God. Without God’s presence, our church will be just another building. That is the principal reason for the respect we have for our church as the Temple of God, and how important it is to be conscious of that special presence, because even though we believe that God is everywhere, His sacramental presence in the church (temple) makes it a holy place. When a community is aware of that presence, then that place becomes more sacred and honored, a place where you know and you can experience the presence of God.

The Gospel and these few words I have written here apply to churches/temples in general, but we should also meditate upon what Scripture says: “Are you not aware that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16). We need to take this into consideration: we are Temples of God, and as is so in other temples, its defining characteristic is the abiding presence of God.

We have heard many times that God lives in us.While this is true, does our awareness of God’s  life in us change us? We should examine our own lives, our actions, and our way of living to discover if we honor and respect God who lives in us by the way we live.

Sometimes, when we look to places such as buildings, houses, and churches, we recognize that some parts may no longer function well because they may be broken, suffer from years of neglect or just need to be updated. In addressing these issues, we hope that those buildings do not only look better, but actually become better, stronger and more able to fulfill their function.

Because we are living Temples of God, the same should be true of us, and we are called to live according to this. Mature Christians should not ask themselves or others if something is a sin or not; we should ask ourselves whether our actions honor God who dwell in us. Do we make the temple that we are a place that reflects that God lives there?

When we enter a church we hope to feel the presence of God. So, it should be the same for us: when people meet us, they should sense the abiding presence of God. Do they?

-Fr. Sergio