Today I want to look at a profound statement St. Paul makes in the second reading, from the sixth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians. He says, “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body” (1 Cor 6:13c). What is striking about this statement is the way it doesn’t just condemn sin but points to a higher good. It helps us to understand why sin is bad. It is because we were made for a greater purpose — a divine purpose — which sin acts against.
The original Hebrew word for sin is חָטָא, which means “to miss the mark.” This definition is helpful to our understanding of sin, because we can only “miss” if we have a target at which to aim. Paul tells us that our target is God. He is what we are made for. He is our end and our purpose. In fact, our lives don’t make sense without Him.
Just before this he says this, St. Paul gives a metaphor as an example. He says food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food. One doesn’t make sense without the other. What meaning would a steak dinner have if there were no such thing as a stomach to digest it? It would just be a piece of hot cow on a plate. And think how horrible hunger would be if there were no such thing as food? We would feel a profound emptiness without any idea of how to fill it.
This is precisely what many people feel in their spiritual lives. It’s what St. Augustine felt before his conversion to Christianity, and why he began his Confessions with the famous line, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.” Augustine discovered that he was made for God. He discovered his purpose. . .