17 January, Sunday — Caretaker duty

Jan 17 — 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Sam 3:3-10,19
1 Cor 6:13-15,17-20
Jn 1:35-42

Your body…is the temple of the Holy Spirit…

In my late teens and early twenties, I was fit and fab (I reckon most of us were). I went to the gym four times a week, played squash competitively and even earned some spare change walking up and down catwalks. Then, as I began working life, I started partying and more or less ‘let it all go’. Waking up hungover before heading to work was not unusual and, in my mid to late thirties, after a stint overseas, a friend remarked (he actually did a double take) that he could not recognise me when I turned up at my then regular watering hole.

It wasn’t until I turned 50 and started a modest training programme that I finally realised how, as I got older, my body just could not take the ‘abuse’ that I used to put it through. Copious amounts of alcohol, followed by late night meals certainly took its toll. The year I walked the Camino was a turning point — when I trained to get fit, not to look good, but to be able to function fully, properly, and not have my body break down.

Brothers and sisters, if our bodies are indeed temples of the Spirit, then as with all temples, they need to be kept spick and span. Because if we don’t do our daily chores and keep the temple clean, it will eventually crumble and become derelict. If we don’t sweep away the dust, clean the dirt from our altars and keep out the wild animals, the temple will become a mere structure — just four walls and a roof, with no soul whatsoever.

So, what is the state of our faith now? Have we allowed sin to enter as and when it wants to and desecrate our souls? Are we (perhaps not) saying our daily prayers, going for Mass, going for the Sacrament of Reconciliation so as to cleanse ourselves? Or do we just ‘spring clean’ once or twice a year (on Good Friday and at Christmas)? Have we forgotten what it is like to have Jesus visit us and cross over the threshold into our hearts? Are we being good caretakers of the temple that God has given us?

By God’s grace, and the friendship of a brother who is devoted to keeping his customers healthy, I am now back on a regime that involves discipline, diet and belief — that even in my mid-50s, I need not let my physical condition deter me from living a full, healthy life. In fact, I dare say that I am in a much better condition than I ever was. All thanks to a realisation that I was not being a good caretaker to my aging body; that I needed to treat it with more care and respect.

Brothers and sisters, the same can be said of our faith — it needs to be cared for, nurtured and nourished, on a daily basis. Some of us may not have the luxury of time, constantly stretched and pulled every which way just so we can provide for our families. Some of us are just too tired/worried/fearful and have lost confidence in ourselves…and have lost faith. But the next time we look in a mirror, realise that God never gives up on us. That reflection in the mirror is a creation from God. And it is a temple built by God to radiate His love and goodness.        

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Help us O Lord, to recognise and learn to appreciate more of ourselves so that we can be true caretakers of our minds, our bodies and our souls. Show us the way to keep our ‘temple’ clean and ready to receive you at all times.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Holy Spirit, for lighting our paths and always being present in our lives. Continue to shine in us so that we radiate the love of our Father to all those who care for us and to those who depend on us.


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