The Temple of God, Which You Are, Is Holy

Today’s second Mass reading from the first Letter to the Corinthians contains a simple line we have heard many times. We read

Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?..[T]he temple of God, which you are, is holy.

For all of its familiarity, do we really live in the truth of that statement? Here are the thoughts and questions that arose for me as I sat with those words this morning.

I approach Buddhist temples, Jewish synagogues, Christian churches, etc. with reverence, recognizing that I am in a holy place. I take my shoes off and prostrate before entering a Buddhist temple. I genuflect or bow before taking my seat in a Catholic or other Christian church. And so on. I behave as though I am in the temple of God.

The thing is, if I am the temple of God, then so is each other person. If I am the temple of God, then so are you. That raises the question: do I approach each person I meet as though they are the temple of God, as though the Spirit of God dwells in them?

If we can remember in each encounter with another person that we are encountering the Spirit of God, won’t that change how we approach each other?

The other thought I had is that we sometimes need the reminder that we ourselves are the temple of God. Do I treat my own body as the temple of God – taking care of it, not abusing it – treating it the way I treat a holy place?

It is a simple line, but it contains a truth that ought to have an effect on how we treat ourselves and each other.