FEAST OF THE DEDICATION OF THE LATERAN BASILICA IN ROME

November 9, 2019

Ezekiel 47: 1-2, 8-9, 12 

 

Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.

He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. 

On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

 

 

Psalm 46: 1-8 

 

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble. 

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;

 

though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

 

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.

 

God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
    God will help it when the morning dawns.

 

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.

 

The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.

 

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
    see what desolations he has brought on the earth.

 

 

1 Corinthians 3:9-17 

 

You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

 

 

John 2:13-22 

 

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

 

(NRSVCE)

 

Meditation

 

Buildings have often been compared to the human body. In scripture, God is called a builder, his people called his temple. Even in dreams, a building usually represents oneself. A building is a container used to hold and protect certain things. These things are protected from the elements and closed off so not all can see or access them immediately. The inside of the building is safe and, in certain cases, sacred. 

 

Today, we celebrate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. This Basilica houses the chair of St. Peter and is the highest ranking basilica in Rome as the ecumenical mother church for the catholic faithful. We commemorate the feast with the scriptures of Jesus driving the merchants out of the temple with a whip and claiming he will raise the temple in three days. The people don’t understand him because they think he is speaking of the temple building, which took forty-six year to build, instead of the temple of his body which he would raise from the dead after three days. They don’t understand him because they are thinking in human ways looking at what they can do and control in their own power. 

 

We cannot raise up a temple in three days, nor can we raise ourselves from the dead or save ourselves from our sin. God is the only one with the power to save our bodies and souls from death because he is the one who resides in us. We are his temple and God’s spirit dwells in us. 

 

In our world today, many believe the falsehood that one’s body is one’s own. The phrase “my body, my choice,” is a catchphrase of so-called empowerment,  that denies God’s role as master and rightful inhabiter of one’s body and soul. To reject God’s authority over one’s body, is to allow in the forces of darkness that lead to death and destruction. The scriptures warn us that If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. 

 

As human beings, we are untrusted with a great task of caring for God’s temple. It is our responsibility to give over our lives and our bodies to God and obey his will and his law. Are there any ways in which you seek to have control instead of submitting to God's laws with your body? Remember how valuable you are to God today. Think about Jesus cleansing the temple of anyone or anything that would profane it. Meditate on what it means to God to be His temple. Consider if you have done anything that would be considered a profanation of your temple and if need be, attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation to be healed. 

 

 

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