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The Temple of His Body


“Be built up like living stones, into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood.” ~ 1 Peter 2:5

Today our church celebrates the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, as she does every year on November 9th Our cathedrals and churches are sacred and precious places. God just “feels” more present in the sanctuaries of these buildings that, when designed in concert with the Holy Spirit, are truly a foretaste of the Heavenly Kingdom, that ethereal dwelling place which every soul hungers for

It was the great Doctor of our Church Saint Augustine who when presiding over the celebration and dedication of a newly built church said “What we are doing here in building this church is going on within each of us.” Christ’s spirit, the Trinitarian Spirit really, is being built up within each of us. As I am quick to tell people, I do not attend daily mass because I am holy. I attend daily mass to become holy. Pope Saint John Paul II would so often say, “The world is tired of our words. What the world seeks, what the world truly yearns for, is action.” What is the “action” that Saint John Paul II speaks of? I believe it is, in a word, holiness

In today’s Gospel (John 2:13-22), Jesus angrily chases the money changers and a host of other “entrepreneurial opportunists” who have their sights set on the bottom line out of the temple, thus fulfilling the words of Scripture while also establishing his very body as the New Temple. As Saint Paul reminds us in today’s 2nd Reading (1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17), we too are temples of God. “You are God’s building” he says in point-blank fashion, reminding us that there is but one foundation, that “no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely Jesus Christ.”

Across our country and across the world we see the diverse and dynamic church parish communities that comprise the Mystical Body of Christ, its members the “spiritual stones” that form their very foundation. In this regard, today is everyone’s Feast Day. “Destroy this temple,” Jesus tells the avaricious and jaded in his midst in today’s Gospel, “and in three days I will raise it up.” An absurd claim when viewed through the prism of a faithless and pessimistic world. Scriptures tells us that the temple in which Jesus made this claim had been under construction for 46 years. Under construction for 46 years, not built in 46 years. It’s left to the reader’s imagination to determine when it would be completed. Perhaps it would take another 46 years. Maybe even more. Yet for children of the light, these words are our cornerstone, the source of our indescribable and eternal joy, for they obviously foreshadow Jesus’ death and Resurrection.

I leave you with the words found in Eucharistic Prayer II, words that I found myself reflecting upon just a little more deeply this morning then usual. It is of course the Eucharist that binds the faithful, this great gift of body, blood, soul and divinity that Jesus so brilliantly and lovingly gave to us on the very night that would be handed over. In fact his betrayer was even on hand to receive this gift. The words are simple yet deep, profound and powerful. They summarize that which is at the very heart of the Church that Jesus formed.

“Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.” ~ Amen

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