Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, November 9
May Our Zeal for God’s Loving Presence in Our Lives Consume Each of Us, So That We May Continue to Feed the Faith Which Fills Our Hearts and Souls – for We Are the Church; We Truly Are the Body of Christ!
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” – words which we hear Paul say to us in our Second Reading today.
As we reflect upon today’s Scripture Readings, we find that some aspect of our personal worship of God and the life of faith we live daily is mentioned. From the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, the prophet describes his vision of a new temple, with symbols of life-giving water flowing from within it. In Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, he tells his readers that each person is a temple within which the foundation of faith has been laid by Jesus Christ Himself.
And in our Gospel today, Jesus is teaching us that God’s Temple is a holy place, whether it be a church or temple where we worship, or whether it be each one of us individually – for all temples are patterned after the holiest Temple of all – the Son of God who became the unblemished Sacrificial Lamb offered on the ultimate Altar of Sacrifice – His Holy Cross on Calvary!
Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, or as it is commonly known as the Basilica of Saint John Lateran – the name of the cathedral where the Holy Father, the bishop of Rome, normally presides, for it is the pope’s primary church. A Latin inscription in the Church reads: “Omnium ecclesiarum Urbis et Orbis mater et caput”. Translated, it means, “The mother and head of all churches of the City and of the World”.
One of Rome’s most imposing churches, the Basilica’s towering façade is crowned with 15 colossal statues of Christ, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist and 12 doctors of the Church. Beneath its high altar rests the remains of a small wooden table on which, according to tradition, Saint Peter himself celebrated Mass.
Saint John Lateran is, in a sense, the parish church of all Christian people, for it is the pope’s parish, the cathedral church of the bishop of Rome. And, as such, this church is the spiritual home of the people who are the Church!
And that is the point of our Readings today. We, as a people of God, are the Church. We are the Body of Christ; we are the bride and Christ is the Bridegroom. As important as this Basilica may seem to more than one billion Catholics worldwide, what is more important, however, is the fact that our worship of God is not confined to any particular church or building.
As followers of Jesus, and therefore members of the Body of Christ, we become “the temple of God” through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, no matter what our personal faith persuasion may be. As Saint Paul tells us, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
This foundation, built upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, provides a solid base upon which we build up the Church – by building up ourselves in faith through prayer and study, and frequent reception of the Holy Sacraments.
Another way of looking at it should be familiar to any of us who own a home. If the foundation of our house is built properly, we can expect the building to last for a long time. That being said, we must also maintain and upgrade the home from time to time to keep it in good shape, thereby saving many costly repairs that might be expected if we were to neglect the upkeep of the house.
How do we preserve our faith? Do we expect that the foundation we were given by our parents when we were very young would be enough to maintain our faith for the rest of our lives? Again – a good foundation may keep the house from sinking, but that doesn’t mean pieces of it, like worn shingles, won’t fall off from a strong wind or that neglected plumbing won’t begin to deteriorate or that appliances won’t break down if we don’t keep up the maintenance.
Like all those factors which maintain our home, we too need to maintain our faith through frequent reading of the Sacred Scriptures and deepening our understanding of the tenets of our faith; we need to constantly practice that which we have been taught and be spiritually nourished through the Sacraments – especially Reconciliation and Eucharist – in order to give ourselves a faith-filled environment which will help prevent our faith from falling into disrepair.
The constant nurturing of our spiritual life is like the flow of water the prophet Ezekiel sees coming from the temple in today’s First Reading – a life-giving water provided by the Holy Spirit throughout our lives. As we build up our faith, we must tap into that river and be led by the Spirit to where God needs us to be. We are to be that building, that holy place set apart for God to dwell within each one of us.
As Jesus was filled with zeal for His Father’s House in today’s Gospel, may our zeal for God’s loving Presence in our own lives consume each of us, so that we may continue to feed the faith which fills our hearts and souls.
And may our burning zeal for God’s Infinite Love draw us ever nearer to His Throne of Mercy with gratitude and joy, always cherishing the knowledge that, by His grace, you and I are truly God’s Church!
We truly are the Body of Christ here on Earth! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- “This water flows…and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.” (Ezekiel 47:8acd)
- “Brothers and sisters…we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it.” (1 Corinthians 3:1a, 9-10a)
- “But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10b-11)
- “His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” (John 2:17, cf. Psalm 69:10a)
- “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
- “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church.” (Colossians 1:17-18a)
- “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)
- “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it…Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.” (1 Corinthians 12:27, 31)
Prayer for the Day
“O Divine Mediator,
look upon those zealous souls who raise their hearts to You
and pray without ceasing for the maintenance
of that most precious gift of Yours, the True Faith.
“Preserve us in Your holy faith,
for, if we are rich with this precious gift,
we shall gladly endure every sorrow,
and nothing shall ever be able to change our happiness.
Without this great treasure of faith,
our unhappiness would be unspeakable and without limit.
“O Good Jesus, Author of our faith,Saint Clement Mary Hofbauer
preserve it pure within us;
keep us safe in the barque of Peter,
faithful and obedient to his successor,
and Your vicar here on Earth,
so that the unity of the Holy Church may be maintained,
holiness fostered, the Holy See protected in freedom,
and the Church universal extended to the benefit of souls. Amen.”