The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Ezk. 47:1-2.8-9.12, 1 Cor. 3:9-11.16-17, Jn 2:13-22. One image of the Church is that of a building, with Jesus as the foundation and the cornerstone, while we are the different components of the structure. In this imagery, people are united with Jesus to continue to spread the Goodnews and praise of God and are able to experience the presence of God, though with some finishing touches to be completed. Thus, today's first reading emphasises the place where the presence of God can be experienced in a more concrete way. Ezekiel experienced it when an angel brought him to the Temple in Jerusalem and he explored the House of God and saw the water flowing from the Temple. As the water flowed from the Temple, it gave life to the plants and animals along its banks. It also refreshed the salty water of the Dead Sea at the point where the river emptied into the Dead Sea. The Psalmist continues the theme of life-giving water flowing from the Temple of the Lord. Paul also speaks of life coming from the 'Edifice of God' as he reminds the community at Corinth that they are the living Temple of God built on the foundation of Jesus.
In today's Gospel, after Jesus cleanses the Temple of all the buying and selling, He relates the Temple to His Body. Thus, we find a concrete correlation between the physical structure of the Church and the spiritual edifice of the 'self'; how we treat the Church is a strong indication of the nearness of our hearts to God. We can begin to understand that it was not so much of the selling and buying of oxen, sheep and doves, for these were necessary for the ritual in the Temple at the moment, but the filthy nature of how these were done by people who should lead the devotion to God. In response to the authorities who challenged Him, Jesus responded pointing to Himself as “the Temple.” The building we call Church is there to help us to express our identity as a people of faith called to worship God through Christ in the Spirit. If our worship is to be authentic, the shape of our worship must become the shape of our lives. Our whole lives are to be a movement towards God, through Christ and in the Spirit. This is what it means to be a Church, to be the Temple of God in the world. This is the heart of our baptismal calling.
May the Lord sanctify His Church, watch over it with care and cultivate it with love, until it fills the world to unites all believers to be a community of humble worship, led by Pastors deeply imbued with the Spirit of Christ! Amen!! Good morning and have a glorious day!!!