Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. the Lateran Basilica was erected by Constantine. It is known as the mother church of Christendom. We have three readings today, from Ezekiel, 1 Corinthians, and the Gospel of John. They all have to do with the temple. I want to concentrate on St. Paul’s thoughts in 1 Corinthians 3. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
It is great to have wonderful and grandiose temples. The great Temple of Jerusalem was one of the most magnificent structures on the earth. The Catholic Church has many of the most beautiful churches on the planet. Most all religions have at least one ornate building in which they worship. Is this wrong? Some would say so. Recently a comedienne (though I would question that moniker) suggested that the Catholic Church sell the Vatican and all its buildings and art and give all the money to the poor. An interesting thought, though not very practical. These things of beauty help lift our eyes toward God.
While these edifices are holy ground, in the final analysis, these things are all just that: things. St. Paul reminds us of what is truly important. People. We are created in the image and likeness of God. Our bodies contain the Holy Spirit, the breath of life. This makes us holy! I’m not going to go off on some diatribe about how we should all exercise regularly and be all buff and muscular and “take care” of our bodies. I’m just suggesting that we honor our body’s intrinsic value as the temple of God. That we not use them for evil or illicit purposes. You can ask God about all the rest.
Father, we thank you for creating us in your image and likeness. For infusing us with your Holy Spirit. May we always recognize this, and see our bodies as holy temples. Amen.
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