The Second Reading for the Third Sunday of Advent is from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24.
The last two verses are particularly interesting. It reads:
“May the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.”
According to a Bible Study Guide on these two lines:
“The spirit, soul, and body refer not so much to the distinct parts of a person as to the entire being of a person. This expressions is Paul’s way of saying that God must be involved in EVERY aspect of life. It is wrong to think that we can separate the spiritual life from everything else, obeying God only in some ethereal sense or living for him only one day each week. Christ must control ALL of us, not just a “religious” part.
Thoughts on this reflection:
How often do we think “As long as I go to church, I’m good in God’s eyes.” Or maybe we say “I pray everyday, I’m religious enough.”
Why do we cut God out from our lives and only let him in when it’s time to pray or go to Church? The key to keeping God close to our hearts is to know Him. We should study Him more than once a day. We should talk to Him more than once a week. He’s the reason we are alive. We, our spirits, souls and bodies, are living proof of His creation. We need to care for what we are given.
How do we do that?
Our Spirits – This is defined as the “invisible, nonmaterial part of humans.”
How does someone take care of their spirit if they can’t even see it or feel it? Perhaps it’s just a feeling, an emotion. It’s the part of us that maybe only people looking at us can see or feel. Maybe it’s just one action or one smile or one act of caring and kindness that someone else looks at in us and thinks, “This person has a truly good spirit in them.” We feed our spirit good things by saying good things, nothing self-deprecating. We try to treat others as we want to be treated. When strangers see you performing good acts of kindness, you are showing them who God is. They will remember that and always remember what a good-heart and kind spirit you have.
Our Souls – This is defined as the “inner life of a human being, the seat of emotions, and the center of human personality.”
Have you ever just looked at someone and thought you could see into their soul? Or maybe someone looked at you and you felt immediately a little uncomfortable, because you thought they could see a part of you that you wished they hadn’t seen? It’s our soul. Our “inner life” as it’s called. What does your soul look like? Are you happy with it or could it use a makeover? Are you doing harm to your soul by sinning and making poor decisions? Remember what St. Paul said, our souls should remain blameless until Christ comes again. A priest once spoke about sin in this way: “Every time we sin, we disfigure our soul.” We can take care of our souls by confessing our sins. Picture your soul becoming disfigured every time you knowingly and willingly choose to sin. That is an upsetting visual and sometimes it’s enough to get us to cease with sinning and start praying.
Our Bodies – This is our physical body, our “physical essence.” We take care of our bodies by honoring God with it. This means we don’t intentionally harm ourselves. We don’t purposely engage in behavior that puts our body in danger of getting hurt. Simply put, our body is a temple. We need to treat it as such. For many this means being physically fit, eating nutritious and healthy foods, getting plenty of rest and not putting our bodies in harms way. But honoring God with our bodies can be difficult for some. Addictions to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, and abuse can cause a lot of damage to our bodies (souls and spirits too!). The good news is we can reverse this process. We can surrender to God and give it all to Him if we have an addiction. He can set our path straight if we have taken a wrong turn. It’s never too late!
Fit in Your Faith Today: Honor God by doing one thing today that shows you are keeping your Body, Spirit and Soul blameless.