One of the lasting impressions of a time when I met Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata (she may be a saint by the time this goes to print), was the fact that the first thing she did as I watched her enter the Church was to walk directly towards the Blessed Sacrament, genuflect and say a short prayer, and then return to greet the bishops and dignitaries who were waiting to welcome her. The most important welcome that she would make that night was to acknowledge the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and invite Him once again into her life. I do not think that I will ever forget that experience and I pray that I will be better able to imitate it than I seem to be at times.

In the Gospel, Jesus challenges the people to get their priorities straight. There is nothing wrong with having a market place, but get it out of the Temple Area as this is sacred space reserved for the people and things of God, and not the workings of the secular world. This lesson can be applied to two major areas of our lives. The second is the physical building that we call the Church. This is a sacred space and every effort should be made to avoid conducting business and affairs that are not related to worship in such places. If the Blessed Sacrament is present then this should be acknowledged by genuflecting towards the tabernacle on entering the main area of the Church; similarly when one leaves the Church. If there is no Blessed Sacrament, then we bow towards the altar. Every effort should be made to ensure that there is space within the Church that is fitting and conducive for prayer.

The main area of our life to which this teaching refers is our own body. St Paul tells us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we should ensure that the actions we embrace reflect this truth. Basically, this is an exhortation to put to death the sin in our lives and reclaim our lives for the work and dwelling place of God. God wants to dwell within us in all His power and majesty but is often unable to do so as we have made our hearts a haven for sin and unrighteousness. The challenge for us is to identify those areas of our lives that are not being lived according to the truths of the Gospel and to do something that will rectify the situation. We are the ones who control whether or not our bodies become sacred or secular temples.

Are there practices in my life that I ought to change in order to welcome the Holy Spirit more fully into my life?

Holy Spirit, I want you to dwell in my heart in all your power and glory. Help me to identify the areas in which I have to repent and change in order to live in the fullness of all that God promises me as His child.