2nd second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
(I Sam 3:3-10.19, I Cor 6:13-15.17-20, Jn 1:35-42)
1.0. The sanctuary is a special place where God manifests His presence in an extraordinary way. Being in the Sanctuary becomes a sign of being close of God. So we go to God’s temple like Hannah (I Sam 1:9-20) to receive God’s favours, and to hear what the Lord God has to say (cf. Ps 85:8), just as it happened to Samuel who was lying in sanctuary when God called him (1 Sam 3:3ff).
2.0. In the 2nd reading we hear about a different notion of sanctuary. St Paul tells us that God had instituted us as a sanctuary where He comes to dwell. In the 1st reading, the sanctuary was a building where Samuel went to encounter God, but now, we are God’s living temple where He Himself comes to dwell, encountering us from within. In other words, our body is God’s dwelling place; the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). From within He impels us and, we thus “mediate” His presence to others. Therefore, the body must be kept pure since nothing impure dwells in God (cf. Rev 21:27).
Since we have been given the Spirit of adoption (cf. Rm 8:15), we no longer belong to ourselves but to God. So the body must not be subject to any form of sexual impurity. Such sins are highly destructive of the spiritual life because they attack us from within the place of encounter between us as human persons and the Holy Spirit (cf 1 Cor 6:18). And that is why they are the most difficult sins to handle since they try to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit impelling us to holiness and piety. The human body is now endowed with dignity because it belongs to God as His temple; “it is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body” (1 Cor 6:14).
3.0. In Gospel, John the Baptist pointed Jesus to his disciples just as Eli directed Samuel to God.
Meeting Jesus, He entered into “dialogued” with them. Through the Incarnation, God has entered into “dialogue” with humanity. Jesus’ “dialogue” with those disciples is not one of mutual compromise, but one which leads them to a free, deeper and more personal response. At this point their response is no longer by the witness of John the Baptist but a response to the invitation by Jesus Himself: “Come and see” (Jn 1:39). In this way, their response becomes a ‘personal encounter’, which establishes an interpersonal relationship with Christ. The result of this encounter is this: “they stayed with Him” (Jn 1: 39). At this moment of staying with Him, the invitation and the personal encounter meet. This meeting point is where the interpersonal relationship is actually born.
4.0. At this point of staying with Him, one submits himself totally to this communion; offering his whole self, heart desires, brothers and sisters, friends, work—every part of the body (Rm 6:13) to Christ. This is where Andrew brought His brother Peter (Jn 1:40ff). Encountering Jesus through submitting to His call—the call He makes from within us—we become “other Christ”, inviting people to Christ through our words and actions. Hence we live but it is Christ dwelling in us as in a temple. The life we live, though subject to the temptations of human nature, we live in faith in Jesus, who loves us and gave Himself for us (Gal 2:20). Once we have responded to this initial call to submit ourselves—offering our bodies as God’s temple—then we are ready to render a spirit-filled service to the larger Body of Christ i.e. the Church.
Therefore, in other to give authentic response to God’s call, we must prepare our bodies as a living sanctuary for the Holy Spirit to dwell in. It is in purity of heart that we hear God calling and can give free and whole hearted personal response.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
St Anthony Parish, Jabi, Abuja. 15/01/12