In our second reading, from 1 Corinthians 6, St. Paul affirms the Jewish teaching on the sacredness of the human body. He warns against “immorality”— meaning sexual immorality: “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.” St. Paul, and the whole Christian tradition, sets sexual sin apart from every other sin, because the flesh is sacred. An impure person doesn’t just sin “in” his own body. He sins against his own body. He shoots himself in the foot.
The Flesh is Sacred
Is human flesh really that important, we might ask, we who breath the air of a post-sexual revolution society. Isn’t the body just a meat machine, and sex just harmless recreation? No. The body is more than that. St. Paul defines the human body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Everything you do in that body, from eating to driving your car to smiling at a difficult coworker, either honors or dishonors the Holy Spirit. But sexuality is in a class apart. Sexuality is fundamentally sacred, because it is relational; it makes us capable of love, portraying the self-gift that makes us human, and makes us divine. Sex is so sacred that some of us consecrate our flesh to lifelong celibacy. We offer our manhood to God in the way a girl offers her hair to God when she takes the religious habit (in the 1984 movie Mother Teresa, a beautiful young Indian woman says the decisive moment was cutting off her hair before taking the veil: “I wanted to give God what was most precious to me”).
Glorify God in Your Bodies
“Glorify God in your bodies,” Paul concludes in today’s Epistle. All this is predicated on the fact that “your bodies are not your own—you have been purchased at a price.” In two weeks 50,000 people will witness to this fact in the Walk for Life West Coast here in San Francisco. We will gather en masse in front of City Hall, standing athwart the abortion industry’s mantra, taken from the sexual revolution’s playbook, “my body, my choice.”
Really? Your body? Tell me how you made your body. Who gave it to you, and how much did you pay for it? Can you change the chromosomes in even one of your body’s 37 trillion cells from male to female? No, you can’t. And you don’t. The so-called sexual revolution shamelessly lies about human nature and Mother Nature. It’s long past time to call these falsehoods out. There is a God and we are not He. We did not make our selves. We are part of a greater and more beautiful world than the little universes we imagine for ourselves.
To glorify God in our bodies means to be fully human, fully the sons and daughters of a loving Father in heaven, for he takes delight in our delight. It seems a small thing to have sex with another person these days, and true enough we have tried to make sex small. But sexuality, which is so essential to our natural personhood, will not be made small. You can try to break the natural law, but you only end up breaking yourself against it. We have destroyed much of the human nature God has given us. The western world is a wasteland of broken bodies and broken hearts. And yet our loving Father is always ready to welcome us home. He will restore us, and rebuild us, if we turn to Him. Blessed be He, forever and ever.