As I was listening to the second reading at Mass today, something was nagging at me. It just didn’t sound right.
Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.
Wait a minute, isn’t all sin immorality? How can we say that immorality is a sin of the body? There is immorality that isn’t physical, like things we say or fail to do. Something wasn’t right here.
Then Melanie, who was thinking the same thing, pointed to the Spanish version of the reading. (Our parish has bilingual missalettes.) Now, I don’t read or speak Spanish, but when it uses “fornicar” for the English lectionary’s “immorality” I think I can figure out what the word is supposed to be. When I got home, I picked up my Greek New Testament and sure enough the word is “porneia,” which according to Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament means “fornication, prostitution, unchastity, or every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.”
The keepers and guardians of the New American Bible must have decided that “fornication” is too coarse a word for our tender ears or that it might be too judgmental of those who are, you know, fornicating.
Instead we get some kind of mush that tells people nothing really, and that could even mislead them. “Huh, only things we do with our bodies are immoral. Great! Now I can lie and hate and all kinds of other things.”
Some people say that the Church has a hang up about sex. What about those who have a hard time letting God’s Word talk about it unfiltered?