Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 23, 2014
Leviticus 19.1-2, 17-18 | Psalm 103 | 1 Corinthians 3.16-23 | Matthew 5.38-48

John Connelly

February 17, 2014

St. Paul poses a great question in this Sunday's reading from 1 Corinthians: "Brothers and sisters: Do you not realize that you are the temple of God, and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"

With this simple question Paul gives a profound insight into who we are. He is pointing us to the heart of what it means to be a Christian. We are living temples of God.

A temple is a place of worship. It is a place where we go to encounter God and experience his presence. This reading reminds us that God is not far away. God is not distant and aloof. God actually lives in you and me right now. He is close to us. His Spirit dwells in us.

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you? – 1 Corinthians 3.16

'Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you?'

1 Corinthians 3.16

How often do we forget this profound, life-giving truth? The Spirit of Jesus lives in you and me. Not in some distant future or in some perfect imaginary situation, but in this present moment.


Our bodies and souls are sacred. We are designed to worship the Lord continually and carry his loving presence to all.

Imagine if we suddenly got a bad case of amnesia. We forget our names, our families, our jobs, our friends and all that constitutes our lives.

Would we not feel confused, isolated and afraid? When we forget our identity in Christ it is like a case of spiritual amnesia. We forget the essence of our existence. We begin to see God as a distant being and lose sight of the reality that we are his living temples.

We need to meditate on who we are in Christ. Say again and again: "I am a temple of God; the Spirit of Jesus lives in me right now."

Faith does not start with feelings. It always begins with the truth. Truth is more than feelings. Truth is reality. And the reality is that we are God's temple whether we feel it or not. Where is the Spirit of Jesus right now? In his temple, in you and me.

This is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "The Holy Spirit, whose anointing permeates our whole being, is the interior master of Christian prayer" (2572). Let that soak in. The Holy Spirit is the interior master of prayer.

He is the interior master living within us. A reality so profound, so overwhelmingly true that it should never be underestimated or left aside.

The Holy Spirit is wisdom, life, consolation, peace, joy, love and all that we could ever need.

This amazing Holy Spirit dwells where? Not just in the building of the Church. Not just in the sacraments and saints. He dwells in you and me, with all our frailty, struggles, doubts and fears.

Putting our faith in the reality that we are temples of the Holy Spirit should bring us great joy. It means that our lives have meaning. It means the presence of God is near to us in all our joys, pain and struggle.

We are not alone. We are beautiful and beloved temples of God. The call of every Christian is to live this reality by letting the light and love of Jesus shine through us daily.

Come, Spirit of Jesus, live this moment in us. Reveal to us the truth each day. We are the living temple of God.