Today’s readings are introductory pieces that will tell of punishments rendered by God for sins. In upcoming verses and chapters of the Bible—Old and New Testaments—the Philistines devastatingly defeat the Israelites for the sins of Ely’s sons, and we destroy our own temples by committing sins against our own bodies and may deserve punishments that sacrifices and offerings will not pay for.
Paul asks us to “glorify God in your body” because “you have been purchased at a price.” Our bodies “are members of Christ.” “The immoral person sins against his own body.” “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you.”
So, let’s reflect on destroying our own temples. When we chip away at the structure of our bodies, we are not doing God’s will. We are not saying “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” We are not glorifying God in our bodies.
Two of the seven deadly sins might come to mind. Gluttony and lust have physical consequences on our bodies and, unfortunately, can also sometimes be difficult to define on the spectrum that begins with natural needs but can move darkly to venial and even to mortal sin.
Our bodies are the proving ground through which we can help build God’s kingdom or flaunt irreverence toward that same kingdom. We can be grateful or disgraceful. We can become strong or weak. Gluttony quite literally destroys the body. Lust destroys, among other things, trust. Lust can break our most solemn promises to our mates and make life much more difficult for our children, God’s children.
Since the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we no longer sacrifice animals. Instead, yes, we do have a sacrament that offers us forgiveness for our sins. We might even try our hardest to atone for past sins. But, in addition to that, are we starting each day praying something like, “Am I about to do the Lord’s will? Am I tuned into obedience? Do I see doing God’s will as a delight? Is God’s law in my heart? Am I glorifying the Lord in my body?”
Jack Dermody is the editor of the CrossRoads bulletin for the Passionist Alumni Association and a member of the Migration Commission for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Glendale, Arizona.