“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” (Haggai 1:4)
A few days ago, we heard Jesus saying to us: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21). If hearing and keeping God’s Word makes us members of His family, we must show concern for the condition of God’s house.
The church can be likened to a family house, a place we call home to find forgiveness, redemption, calm, and connect with family. As the Psalmist would sing: “I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’ And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.” (Psalm 122:1-3).
David asked the prophet, Nathan: “How can I be dwelling in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent?” (2nd Samuel 7:2). In truth, this is how we should feel whenever we see the house of God in a bad shape. We should never be indifferent to the condition of the house of God.
In today’s first reading, Haggai asks the Israelites: “Is it a time for you to dwell in your panelled houses while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared. You have sown much and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm, and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes.” (Haggai 1:4-6).
While we must be concerned about the church as a physical building, we must remember that these words of Haggai also apply to our bodies. This is because we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul says: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Do not allow the temple of God to lie in ruins while you pursue other interests. Put God first in your thoughts, words and actions. Honour God in your body. In so doing, you let your light shine. Jesus tells us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
Jesus let His light shine during His earthly life – He practised what He preached. In today’s Gospel passage, Luke tells us that the fame of Jesus spread across Israel. Herod heard about Jesus and concluded that Jesus was the resurrected version of John the Baptist. Herod desired to see Jesus because his conscience troubled him over the death of John. Do you desire to give God praise? It is not enough that you sing and dance in the church only to bring shame and disgrace to God through your sinful lifestyle. Treat God’s temple (your body) with utmost care as a light. Don’t be an average Christian; instead, be an excellent Christian. People will hear about you and give praise to God.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, teach me how to reverence the church and bless me as I build my inner temple for you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of week 25 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Haggai 1:1-8, Ps. 149:1-6,9, Luke 9:7-9).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu