“And the Lord said: this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me….” Isaiah 29:13.
Today’s readings pick off from those of yesterday. Solomon had just built a magnificent temple for the worship of God and offers the prayers of dedication. Solomon prays to God that whenever God’s people are gathered in the temple to pray, God should please listen to their petitions. The words of this ancient prayer are still being used even today in the dedication of Churches. (Confer, The Rites)
As at the time of Solomon, there was no such thing as the Holy Eucharist kept in the tabernacle. Now we can walk into the Blessed Sacrament and behold, there we are face to face with God. What a privilege! “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” Deuteronomy 4:7.
When Jesus cleansed the temple and drove out the money changers, he was asked for a sign to prove the validity of his action and he said: “Destroy this temple, and in three days, I will raise it up.” John 2, 19. From this statement of Jesus, we get to see that even our very bodies are temples where God also dwells. This is why St. Paul would say in 1st Corinthians 6, verse 19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?”
In our Gospel passage this morning, Jesus is speaking of how we can make the temples of our bodies clean. He says we should bother more about the inside than the outside. Our religion should not be only about external observances that people can see but the internal acts known to God alone.
It is right there, deep inside the heart that we worship God. And so, keeping the temples of our bodies clean requires that we keep away from those things that defile us from within. “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.” Mark 7:21-23.
As a rule of thumb, to clean the temple, you must begin from the inside! To have a clean personality, you must first clean your thoughts!
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, make me pure and holy inside. Amen. St. Paul Miki and Companions, pray for us.
*Be happy, live positive, it is well with you. Tuesday of the 5th week in Ordinary time. Bible Study: 1st Kings 10:1-10 and Mark 7:14-23.*