When the crucifixion of Jesus is dramatized in the Gospels, we have this very interesting image of the tearing of the temple veil from top to bottom. Now the word for temple is fanum. Everything outside the temple was pro fanum. (Hence we get our word “profane.”) There was “the holy” and it was distinguished from “the unholy.” The tearing of the temple veil from top to bottom is saying that division of life is over. Everything is now potentially the fanum, the holy, the temple. There is nothing that is not spiritual. There is nothing to which God is not available and given, which is the core meaning of the Incarnation. Matter and Spirit are forever shown to be united in Jesus. He is himself the temple, and we are also the temple, and all creation is the temple. As Thomas Merton said, “the gate of heaven is everywhere”!
After 2,000 years of Christianity, most of Christianity still hasn’t gotten that point. We still live with purity codes, debt codes, worthiness systems, and exclusionary policies to protect ourselves from the “profane.” The bottom line meaning of the “forgiveness of sin” is that God even uses evil, failure, and sin to bring us to God. What utterly good news!
Richard Rohr, adapted from The Cosmic Christ (CD#1)