“You are the temple of the living God.”2 Corinthians 6:16
If you were asked to describe what the heart is and what its purpose, how would you answer?
I’m certain, we all may answer that it is the organ that gives us life, without it, death prevails. Definitely, its physical purpose. What about the deeper connection of the heart in the spiritual and emotional sense?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC2563), defines the heart as a “dwelling place” where we reside, our hidden center which is beyond our grasp. It’s the place of decision and most importantly it is the place where we encounter a relationship with God.
If the heart is where we reside and where we encounter God, can we say that our bodies are a temple where God is present in our sanctuary, our center, the heart?
In todays, gospel reading from John 2:13-25, we see a different side of Jesus. He goes to the temple and overturns tables and pretty much chases those who are selling animals out of the temple. It was Jewish custom to offer sacrifice to God for Passover. Not just any animal would do, there were particular guidelines explained in the book of Leviticus. In the gospel of John, we see people selling animals that met this criterion of a sacrificial animal. People came from everywhere to offer sacrifices to God. They had various currencies, hence the need for the money changers. What the story doesn’t readily tell us that perhaps we could interpret based Jesus’ actions is that there was probably some price gouging going on. What was meant to be a sincere act of sacrifice to God had become a money-making scheme by the merchants. Perhaps we can draw the conclusion that they are not only committing an act of hypocrisy in the physical temple, the place of worship, but also in their own temple, the body. We could possibly conclude that they are breaking a few of the ten commandments in the scene that is described.
How do we look at this scene and apply it to ourselves?
What about our sins? How do our sins affect the temple of God, our bodies? How does sin affect our heart, where we are in communion with God?
Perhaps the invitation today is to ask ourselves how am I treating my body, my heart? Am I taking care of my physical health? Am I bruising my heart by not being kind to it? Am I defiling my body in acts that are un-pure? Do I idolize another God such as money, social media, drugs or alcohol that is overshadowing God’s presence in my heart? I invite you to search your heart as if you lost something, overturning all the furniture that is present. Perhaps something is hidden that is separating you from the full communion of God in your heart.
Lord, I come to You today searching my sanctuary, my heart, to identify the areas where I need to cleanse Your temple, my body. As I journey with You through this Lenten season, reveal these weeds that need tending and renew the soil within so that Your temple will be a place of beauty and growth. Amen