31st Thursday in Ordinary Time
Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Ezekiel 47: 1-2, 8-9, 12; 1 Corinthians 3: 9c-11, 16-17; John 2: 13-22
Today, we join the bishop of Rome in celebrating the dedication of his cathedral church, St. John Lateran. We join him in this feast because he is the supreme pastor of the universal church who has the responsibility of leading the community of faith to a universal agape. The assembly of love was built on Peter’s profession of faith. “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat. 16:18). As the Holy Spirit is the bond of unity within the Trinity, Peter and his successors are to serve as agents of unity within the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ that gathers within walls of the church building. Because the One who abides within the People He has called His own is holy, He makes holy all who abide in Him.
Through Baptism we have been made the Temple of God which has Christ as it cornerstone. Within the walls of the church we find comfort and refuge from all the attacks of evil. As do the walls of the church, we are called to provide comfort and refuge for others in need. As members of the Body of Christ, we receive life from Christ, who is the foundation of the building and the head of the body, to pass on to others. United in faith and love, we are called to burn with the same zeal for God’s house that consumed Christ. Like Jesus we are to surrender to a higher call, regardless of the consequences to us. Our faith is Person-centered, it is a relationship that draws us into communion with the three persons of the Blessed Trinity and with all those that Christ loves. As members of the Body of Christ we are called to worship and adore the Father with our mouths and to serve all our brothers and sisters in Christ with our lives. Our relationship as members of the Church must be one of mutual love and respect.
We have been created in the image of God. God is the cornerstone of our life and we are the living stone out of which He has built His church. We are God’s temple. We are the dwelling-place of God. Being bound to God, we are bound to one another. Since God is Holy, we have no right to desecrate His temple with impurity and injustice. As Christ cleansed the Temple, we are expected to cleanse the temple of our hearts. We must cleanse ourselves of attitudes and behaviors that prevent us from seeing and responding to hatred and injustice wherever we find it.
By interacting with our brothers and sisters in Christ, each of us discovers our personal qualities and defects, our strengths and weaknesses. Under the guidance of the Universal Shepherd, we gather to love and praise God. Under his pastoral leadership and fatherly instruction, we strive to strengthen and support one another in living the Gospel. In book The Seven Story Mountain, Thomas Merton wrote, “I thought churches were simply places where people got together and sang a few hymns…and yet now I tell you, it is the Sacrament…Christ living in our midst…it is He alone who holds our world together.” Amid the darkness that envelopes the world, the Church, the Body of Christ, needs to be a beacon of hope. In communion with the successor of Peter, we are to be proclaimers of the Good News, men and women who bring hope to others.