Year B: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 6: 13-15, 17-20
Today, we begin a series of readings from the letter to the Corinthians. Corinth was a port city - a place where people of all races and cultures came together. This made it a very cosmopolitan place to be - but would have had its problems too. Like many ports, it would have had its fair share of prostitutes and those eager to make rich pickings from the sailors and merchants who visited.
St Paul was in no doubt about the realities of life in Corinth and wants to set the record absolutely straight about the kind of lifestyle Christians should adopt.
Unlike many people who speak about these topics, St Paul does not moralise or condemn those who have been involved in prostitution or promiscuous sexual activity.
Instead he begins by emphasising the holiness of our bodies - the body is for the Lord and the Lord for the body. Our bodies bring us into the greater body that is Christ. And, as if that is not enough to convince his readers of the holiness of our bodies - he states that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are places where the Holy Spirit lives.
He emphasises the dignity of our bodies in a way which has often been lost in Christian teaching. There are those who claim that flesh is evil - that it tempts us to sin. Sexual desire and physical love have been viewed with suspicion - and often condemned as something to be avoided.
People have often elevated the soul and spiritual life above the life of the body - seeing private prayer and devotion - the mortification of the flesh as somehow more worthy than treating the body with the respect it deserves as a temple of the Spirit.
This is not what St Paul is advocating - quite the opposite. He is saying that it is precisely because the body is holy that we should avoid promiscuity or any activity - including sexual - which might harm what is precious.
What does it mean for me?
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