(32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Old Calendar: Dedication of the Archbasilica of Our Holy Savior;
St. Theodore, martyrFrom: 1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
Apostolic Ministry (continuation)
 (For we are God's) building.
 According to the commission of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it.  For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?  If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.
9. "God's field, God's building". The Second Vatican Council uses these images to describe the inner nature of the Church: "The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God (cf. 1 Cor 3:9). on that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again (Rom 11:13-26). That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator (Mt 21:33-43; cf. Is 5:1f). Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ without whom we can do nothing (Jn 15:1-5).
"Often, too, the Church is called the building of God (1 Cor 3:9). The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the cornerstone (Mt 21:42; cf. Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:7; Ps 117:22). on this foundation the Church is built by the Apostles (cf. 1 Cor 3:11) and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it--the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19:22); the dwelling-place of God among men (Rev 21:3); and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it (1 Pet 2:5). It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband (Rev 21:1f)" ("Lumen Gentium", 6).
The Lord wants Christians to be living stones in this building and has associated them in the redemptive task of saving all mankind, so that in the course of their own redemption they might also be co-redeemers with him, completing "what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church" (Col 1:24): "Jesus has wanted every person to cooperate freely in the work of redemption [...]. The work of salvation is still going on, and each one of us has a part in it [...]. It is worth while putting our lives on the line, giving ourselves completely, so as to answer to the love and the confidence that God has placed in us. It is worth while, above all, to decide to take our Christian faith seriously" (St. J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 129).
10-11. With a solemn introduction (" According to the commission of God given to me", which equipped him for his ministry), St Paul identifies what holds together the community at Corinth and its individual members -- Jesus Christ, the essential basis for every spiritual building. Christ, as St Peter reminds us, is "the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:11-12).
Therefore, all genuine catechesis must be Christ-centered; it must all be focused on Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man, and on his teachings. Catechesis, says John Paul II, means "to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God's eternal design reaching fulfillment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ's actions and words and of the signs worked by him, for they simultaneously hide and reveal his mystery. Accordingly, the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ; only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity [...]. We must therefore say that in catechesis it is Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, who is taught--everything else is taught with reference to him -- and it is Christ alone who teaches--anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ's spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips" ("Catechesi Tradendae", 5-6).
Also, reflection on the fact that Jesus Christ is the foundation of the spiritual building, leads to the conclusion that a Christian "needs to be not only linked to Jesus Christ," St John Chrysostom points out, "but to adhere to him, to be finally attached to him: to be separated from him to the least degree is to be lost [...]. Notice all the comparisons the Apostle makes to explain this intimate unity: Jesus Christ is the head, we the body, for there can be no gap between head and ody. He is the foundation, we the building; he is the vine, we the branches; he the spouse, we the bride; he is the shepherd, we the flock; he is the way along which we are to travel; we are the temple, and God dwells therein; he is the first-born, we his brethren; he is the heir and we co-heirs; he is life and we have life through him; he is the resurrection and we men are raised up; he is the light by which our darkness is dispelled" ("Hom. on 1 Cor", 8, "ad loc.").
16-17. These words apply to the individual Christian, and to the Church as a whole (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 3:9). The simile of the Church as God's temple, frequently used by St. Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16), shows that the Holy Trinity dwells in the soul in grace. As [Pope] Leo XIII reminds us, by means of grace God dwells in the just soul as in a temple, in a special and intimate manner" ("Divinum Illud Munus" 10). Although this indwelling is attributed to the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19), it really comes about through the presence of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, because all actions of God which terminate outside God Himself (activities "ad extra") are to be seen as actions of the one, unique divine nature.
This sublime mystery which we could never have suspected, was revealed by Jesus Christ Himself: "The Spirit of truth [...] dwells with you, and will be in you [...]. If a man loves me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our home with him" (John 14:17-23). Although this is a matter which we never plumb in this life, some light is thrown on it if we remember that "the Divine Persons are said to inhabit as much as they are present to intellectual creatures in a way that transcends human comprehension, and are known and loved (cf. "Summa Theologiae", I, q. 43, a. 3) by them, yet in a way that is unique, purely supernatural, and in the deepest sanctuary of the soul" (Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis, Dz-Sch", 35).
Reflection on this wonderful fact will help us to realize how extremely important it is to live in the grace of God, and to have a horror of mortal sin, which "destroys God's temple," depriving the soul of God's grace and friendship.
Moreover, through this indwelling a human being begins to receiving an inkling of what the Beatific Vision--Heaven--will be like, for "this admirable union [of indwelling] differs only by virtue of man's [present] condition and state from union whereby God fills the blessed [in Heaven]" ("Divinum Illud Munus", 11).
The presence of the Trinity in the soul in grace invites the Christian to try to have a more personal and direct relationship with God, whom we can seek at every moment in the depths of our souls: "Get to know the Holy Spirit, the Great Stranger, on whom depends your sanctification. Don't forget that you are God's temple. The Advocate is in the center of your soul: listen to Him and be docile to His inspirations" (St. J. Escriva, "The Way", 57).
_____________________Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.