Friday, November 18, 2011

How often do we hear or read about the "temple," the sacred temple in Jerusalem?  I suspect most of us just take those references to that temple as another church type building from Old Testament times.  But for the Jewish people and its traditions, the Temple in Jerusalem is the "Holy of Holies."  There is no other place more significant to them for their worship and prayer.  For them the people of Yahweh could not gather in any other place that was as sacred.

If you recall the events in the life of Jesus, many days of his life saw him in the temple from the day that his mother took him there for what we call the Presentation.  The time that Jesus was "lost," was solved when his parents found him teaching the elders in the temple.  Likewise, recall the time when Satan took Jesus to the top of the temple to tempt him.  There are other events in his life that occurred there.  

What can the reading from 2 Maccabees offer for our reflection today?  Well, first we need to recall words from St. Paul who stressed in his preaching and teaching that we are God's temple.  We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, it is truly important for us to take time to reflect on the reality that has not changed and will never change:  Each one of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  St. Paul said "For we are the temple of the living God."  Also he wrote "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?"  And again, "For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple."  Lastly, "... you are God's temple and God's Spirit dwells in you."

Perhaps there is no better way to determine ways for us to become holier ... reflecting upon the reality of the sacredness of who and what we are!   Naturally just a we have to take our cars in to a Jiffy Lube or some other company, our "temple" may at times need a checkup, a time to replace a filter, to change the oil in our lives and so one.  You get the message, I am sure.  The most important check up we can make is to daily pray for the graces to be made aware of any needs we have to make changes within our temple.  Maybe there is a time when we need to let Jesus come into our temple and turn the tables on us just as he did in his lifetime when he discovered the awe and sacredness of the temple was being compromised.

To accomplish a good check up of our spiritual engine that operates our temple, we should consider just why God would want us to be known as his temples?  First and foremost, I believe, he needs us as his temples that are in good shape to be the conduit for his graces and activities in the lives of others.  We have to believe that God loves us because he made us.  That is the sign of our vocation to be his apostles in our times.  Being fully aware of our status as temples of the Holy Spirit is, when you seriously consider its meaning, is how we bring about a true evangelizing process in our lives.  It is how we continue to strengthen the growth of God's kingdom among us.