NOTES ON THE DEDICATION OF ST. JOHN LATERAN BASILICA
(A biblical reflection on the FEAST OF DEDICATION OF ST. JOHN LATERAN BASILICA – Monday, 9 November 2015
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:9-13,16-17
First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-2,8-9,12; Psalms: Psalm 46:2-3,5-6,8-9; Gospel Reading: John 2:13-22
The Scripture Text
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
According to the commission of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how He builds upon it. For no other foundation an any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble – each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are. (1 Corinthians 3:9-13,16-17)
Every church building is a symbol, a message composed in stone, pointing toward spiritual realities. Today, Roman Catholics celebrate the dedication of a special church, St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of the diocese of Rome.
Donated by Emperor Constantine the Great [272-337; emperor: 306-337] , the Basilica of St. John Lateran was dedicated on November 9, 324. To this day, it remains the cathedral of the Pope in his capacity as bishop of Rome. This church symbolizes the Pope’s unity with his immediate flock and with all Christians who are in communion with him throughout the world. We celebrate this feast, then, not as outside observers, but as members of one body, united by the Holy Spirit and called to a life of holiness.
Commenting on our role as members of the church of Christ, St. Caesarius of Arles (c. 470-542) said:
“We … ought to be the true and living temple of God. … At our first birth, we were vessels of God’s wrath; reborn, we became vessels of His mercy. Our first birth brought death to us, but our second restored us to life.
“My fellow Christians, do we wish to celebrate joyfully the birth of this temple? Then let us not destroy the living temples of God in ourselves by works of evil. … Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. Do you wish to find this basilica immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins. Do you wish this basilica to be full of light? God too wishes that your soul be not in darkness, but that the light of good works shine in us, so that He who dwells in the heavens will be glorified. Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul. (Sermon 229)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have invited the family of humankind to join Your flock, the Church. You have made us Your temple and sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). We praise You for Your deeds of love, and we ask You to continue to pour grace upon Your people and to bless the Holy Father, whom you have called to be the steward of Your “building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).
Jakarta, 8 November 2015 [32nd ORDINARY SUNDAY – YEAR B]
A Christian Pilgrim