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Doctrines & Morals

The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Ezk. 47:1-2.8-9.12, 1 Cor. 3:9-11.16-17, Jn 2:13-22. Today we recall the dedication of the Basilica of St John of Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome. The Lateran was chosen as the Cathedral of Rome long before St Peter Basilica. It is where the papacy was housed for centuries before moving across the Tiber to where Vatican City now stands. It is the place where the presence of God can be experienced in a very strong way. Ezekiel experiences the presence of God when an angel brings him to the Temple in Jerusalem and he explores the 'House of God' and sees the water flowing from the Temple. The Psalm continues the theme of life-giving water flowing from the Temple of the Lord mentioned in today's first reading. Paul also speaks about the new Temple of God, not built with inanimate stones, but with animated, Spirited persons. In today's Gospel, after Jesus cleanses the Temple of all the buying and selling, He relates the Temple to His body.

As members of the body of Christ, we are 'Temples' of the Holy Spirit and Christian families are the 'Domestic Church'. The Jerusalem Temple serves as a symbol of the Church and conveys the idea of the sacredness of the Temple and also the need for constant purification of the structures of our Church and the 'self'. In the cleansing of the Temple, is the theme of 'Replacement', as the sacrifice of the Cross replaces that of animals. The sacrifice of beast is replaced with the sweet fragrance of the sacrifice of 'self' with an urgent demand to keep the Temple holy, pure and sacred, because, God does not dwell in a flirty place. If the 'self' remains sacred, the Spirit of God continue to dwell therein and our spiritual hunger and thirst are satisfied. As Christ overturned the table of the money changer, we are challenged to allow Jesus to overturn our ‘tables’ of pride, selfishness, meaningless rituals and profit-oriented religious celebrations so that we may freely come to the table of the Lord to share and participate in His self-offering to the Father and become one with Him.

May the Lord inspire the universal Church which unites all believers be a community of humble worship, be imbued with the spirit of Christ! Amen!! Remain safe and have a fruitful week!!!

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