Thursday, November 17, 2016

GOD'S TEMPLE, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE.


Homily for November 18th, 2016. Luke 19:45-48.

          For Jesus’ people, the Jews, the Temple in Jerusalem was the earthly dwelling place of God. God, the creator and ruler of the world, was there as truly as he is the tabernacle today in every Catholic Church the world over. A modern biblical scholar writes: “When Jesus enters the Temple, or is in the Temple, the Temple is really the Temple.” What those words mean is this: when Jesus, who is God made visible in human form, is in the Temple, then God’s presence, normally invisible, becomes visible.

          St Paul tells us that we too are God’s temples or dwelling places: “You must know,” Paul writes in his first Letter to the Corinthians, “that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within – the Spirit you have received from God. You are not your own.” (6:19) And the Catechism says we become God’s temples at baptism. “Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte [a technical term for a newly baptized Christian] ‘a new creature,’ an adopted son [or daughter] of God, who has become ‘a partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit” (No. 1265, emphasis supplied).

          This truth of faith, that in baptism we become temples or dwelling places of God, corrects a widespread but false conception of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Christian discipleship is not a striving after high ideals which constantly elude us. Rather it is living up to what, through baptism, we have already become and are: God’s adopted sons and daughters, partakers of God’s nature, members of Christ’s body, co-heirs with him of God’s kingdom, and temples – dwelling places -- of God’s Holy Spirit.