Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Your body is holy!

I am reading the book, “Exorcism”, by Fr. Thomas Euteneur. It is intense! It depicts exorcisms as they really are, not as Hollywood presents them. They are actually more powerful than we see in the movies. At one point in the book, Fr. Euteneur describes an exorcism as a “trespassing” of the demon or demons on God’s temple (the body). When I read that, it hit me hard. I’ve heard the line from St. Paul that we heard in yesterday’s second reading at Mass a thousand times, that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The reality of the body as God’s temple is what hit me. Demonic possession is such an offense to God that it truly is a trespass against His temple. God’s temple is the body!

Yesterday’s feast in the Church was the dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome as the mother church of Christendom. It is a feast for the Church for many reasons. It celebrates the Church as God’s temple. It celebrates the Chair of St. Peter which the universal Church comes in union with. It celebrates the Church as the mystical Body of Christ. It also celebrates the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit.

So, what does a church in Rome have to do with our bodies? Yesterday’s readings help us to see that we are to have the same reverence for our bodies that we have for a Church or chapel. Christ shows his “zeal” for his Father’s house in driving out the moneychangers. He talks about raising up the temple three days after it’s destroyed. They all think he is referring to the temple in Jerusalem. “But he was speaking about the temple of his Body”. In the second reading, St. Paul writes, “for the temple of God, which you are, is holy”.

Can you imagine if I let the chapel of the Newman Center go to pot? Can you imagine coming in here and seeing dust everywhere, cobwebs, stains on the floor, and experiencing a terrible smell? You would be pretty upset with me for treating God’s temple with such disrespect and demand that I clean it at once. We all have a great reverence for God’s house. We show that in the way we dress when we’re here, in the way we speak when we’re here, and in the reverence we show while we are here.

We are to have the same respect for our bodies and souls. We should treat our bodies and the bodies of others with the same respect we have for God’s house. If we have stained our bodies through…if have all kinds of junk, filth, and dirt on them... we need to clean them at once. One way to see Confession is a “house cleaning”. Going to Confession would be akin to my cleaning the chapel. It should be done regularly and thoroughly!

You hear me say before every Holy Communion, “let all faithful Catholics come receive our Lord”. What I’m really saying is that we need to be clean in order to receive Jesus into our bodies and souls. We need to be in a state of Grace to receive the Eucharist. We need to be faithful Catholics in order for Jesus to come into our homes, the temples of the Holy Spirit.

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