3rd Sunday of Lent
1 Cor 1:22-25
Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the temple, cattle and sheep as well…”
When we visit places of worship, we are mindful that it is a place of worship and holiness, where people come to be one with their God. We accord it the proper respect, like keeping our voices low and dressing respectfully. We are even mindful of what we say at such places, so as not to offend worshippers.
In today’s reading, we are told that Jesus goes into Jerusalem to observe the Passover and is shocked and dismayed at how the temple – his Father’s house – is being treated. As he clears out the temple, we can sense his anger and frustration at how these people have defiled this holy place. This is the physical temple that we are reading about here. Yet underlying all this is also the body as a temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16 states, “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” What a revelation. How then have we been treating our bodies?
I think I can safely say that the pandemic and consequent lockdown have forced us to pause and reflect on our lives and the fragility of it, as millions of people around the world have died from this virus. Perhaps it might have caused us to examine our lifestyle – pre-pandemic we might have been stressed and too busy to exercise or eat the right foods, or even get enough rest. Pre-lockdown, we probably would have indulged in a night (or few) of heavy drinking without a thought as to how it might affect us. We might have neglected to nourish the relationships that should be important to us. Have we been living a hedonistic lifestyle? Have our bodies been kept pure in the process? If Jesus were to look at us today, would he find a tarnished temple that needs clearing?
Our acknowledgement or realization that we have an issue is a good first step to cleaning our bodies. Identifying where our problems are in confronting and overcoming our issues is the next step. Is it an addiction or laziness that prevents us from doing something about it? Is it apathy or procrastination? Do we need external help? Fighting our obstacles is often the hardest thing to do but Jesus gives us an idea as to how we should approach this — we need to be firm and resolute. As he was with the tradesmen at the temple, so must we be when clearing out our own temples. We must apply the same zeal as he did to see through our spring cleaning.
Our bodies are made by God in His own likeness (Gen 1:26). For me, that is as close to God as I can humanly fathom, and it is wondrous indeed to think that we are fashioned in His image. More importantly, our bodies were paid for by the blood of Christ. 1 Cor 6:19-20 reminds us, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.” Our body is a temple to God. Treat it and respect it as we would a place of worship to make it worthy of the dwelling of God’s spirit. As Jim Rohn said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
(Today’s OXYGEN by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, during this Lenten period, help us to examine our lifestyles, our thoughts and words, our actions and our hearts. We pray for the strength to overcome our challenges in our quest to keep our bodies pure.
Thanksgiving: Lord, you paid for us with your holy blood. That is the greatest sacrifice indeed and for that, we give you thanks. Thank you for seeing worth in our humble hearts and bodies for God’s Spirit to dwell in us.