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(Part 12)


November 9, 2014

Today’s readings:
Ezekiel 43:1-7
Psalm 122:1-9
1 Corinthians 3:9-17
John 2:13-22

“For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor 3:9). Here are two absolutely amazing realities for a Christian. One, we are the temple of God, and this is why we are called to be holy as God is holy, “for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (1 Cor 3:17b). Two, we are the co-workers of God, tasked to do divine work, accomplishing divine purposes, toward a divine end.

What are the ramifications for us if we indeed are the temple of God? How is the temple of God to be? Jesus cleansed the temple, driving out the animals and money-changers (Jn 2:14-15). Now what the money-changers and sellers of doves were doing were connected with temple worship. But the true focus for the temple had been lost. “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” (Jn 2:16). The temple, intended for worship and holiness, had become a secular marketplace.

How about us? We love and serve God and strive to live our lives as Christians. But how much of mammon have we allowed to dominate our lives? What is the place of God in our hearts and minds? Just a small part, and even then oftentimes sidelined by worldly priorities and preferences?

What actually would God want to happen? God wants to enter deeply into our lives. Jesus wants to literally dwell in our bodies as we accept him in the Eucharist. What a glorious situation! “And there the glory of the Lord filled the temple!” (Ez 43:5b). God in us! God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel about the temple: “Here I will dwell among the Israelites forever.” (Ez 43:7b). Now for us, people of the new Israel, the temple is not just a physical place, but our very own bodies. And so the call to holiness. “The house of Israel .... will never again defile my holy name” (Ez 43:7c).

We are called to deep worship, with the very Spirit of God in us. To become truly God’s temple, our total focus is on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as “no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 3:11).

We are called to do the work of evangelization, as we are God’s co-workers. In this we function as a body, being of one heart and mind, united in vision and mission. We use our gifts and build on one another’s work. “According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it.” (1 Cor 3:10). One speaks to the one being evangelized, another prays and intercedes, another leads a discussion group in the CLS/LCS, another gives the talk, another counsels, and so on.

We are called to be mindful of our stewardship. “But each one must be careful how he builds upon it” (1 Cor 3:10b). We will be held accountable for such a great privilege. “If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light” (1 Cor 3:12-13a). Our reward will depend on our work. “If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage.” (1 Cor 3:14).

We are on an earthly pilgrimage. We are making our way to heaven. “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Ps 122:1b). “There the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as it was decreed for Israel” (Ps 122:4a).

Given these realities, how should we conduct ourselves? We face a basic question: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16). Thus we respond with great joy and fidelity. And with great zeal for the work of the Kingdom. “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (Jn 2:17). Zeal for holiness. Zeal for the work of evangelization. Zeal in working our way to heaven.

May our life and work be such that there will be no one in need, as we go about the Lord’s work. May peace and prosperity be upon all. “May peace be within your ramparts, prosperity within your towers.” (Ps 122:7).

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