Year A: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: Romans 8: 9, 11-13
From the very beginning, the Spirit was identified with the life-giving breath of God. It was the Spirit who brought order out of chaos - the breath of God which filled human creatures. The Spirit is with us and in us.
At first sight, St Paul seems to be making a distinction between matter and spirit - and judging matter to be bad - spirit to be good. It is true that, for some people, there is no connection between body and spirit - but taken too far, we can lose sight of the fact that God created us to have bodies as well as souls.
If bodies were themselves the problem, the Incarnation would have been impossible - how could God take on human flesh is it were intrinsically sinful?
Some early Christians, the Gnostics, did take this to extremes and believed that there was a clear distinction - and that, ultimately, it was only the soul that mattered.
The majority of Christians held to the fact that God took on human form and, though the body can sin, it also acts as the temple for the Holy Spirit - the dwelling place for the breath of God.
Over the centuries, this problem has come up again and again. Some Catholics today still have a tendency to view the body and its appetites as, at the least, questionable - at worst, sinful.
The question we have to address is where is our focus?
Do we focus simply on keeping the body happy - or, more usually - more than happy!
Do we focus on “mortifying the flesh” and neglect to care for the body and its needs?
God raised Jesus from the dead - not as a spirit being - but in a glorified body - and this is the promise held out for us. We cannot understand how, but our faith rests in the promise that, though our physical bodies decompose and their components go back into the greater cycle of life and death on earth - somehow, God will raise us up in bodies like that of Jesus.
We have been given the Spirit to live within is to help us in the preparation for this. Our bodies are Her home - and, if we listen to Her spiritual promptings, we will find ways of living that give glory to God.
What does it mean for me?
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