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Doctrines & Morals

The Feast of 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, the Church invites us to celebrate the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, known as the Papal Basilica of St John Lateran. This Basilica is accorded such honour because it is the Church where the Cathedra of the Pope is and the Mother and Head of all the Churches in the City of Rome and the World. This celebration reminds us that, as believers, we are not stones and iron, we are the 'People of God'. As such, we are 'Temples' of the Holy Spirit and our families become the 'Domestic Church'. Today's readings attest to the fact that the 'House of God' must be kept holy, because the Church is the place where the presence of God can be experienced in a very strong way. In today's first reading, Ezekiel experiences it 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 Psalmist continues the theme of life-giving water flowing from the Temple of the Lord which is a blessing from God.

There is an urgent call in today's second reading to keep this Temple (the self) holy, undefiled and sacred, because God does not dwell in a flirty Temple. Just as the Church is blessed with holy water during its dedication, thus we have also been washed with the waters of the Sacrament of Baptism and anointed with the Chrism oil just as the Altar that is consecrated is also anointed and white cloth put over it, just as we have also been clothed when we were baptised. We have also received the light of Christ, the same light placed upon the consecrated Altar and incensed just as the Altar is incensed. The significance of this ritual is that we are 'the Living Church of God,' the living members of God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Body of Christ. In today's Gospel, Jesus demonstrates His respect for the physical building in which God’s presence dwells. In the cleansing of the Temple, we find the theme of 'Replacement', where the sacrifice of the Cross replaces the sacrificing of animals, birds and money. The sacrifice of beast is replaced by the sweet fragrance of the sacrifice of the 'self'. Thus, the challenge for us is 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. Hence, we are united as one people and one Church, as one community of the faithful. We must not limit our understanding of the Church merely to the buildings and the structures, or just to the hierarchy of Bishops and Priests, as all of us are also part of that same Church, all united together in our faith in God and all journeying together in faith.

May the Lord Jesus continue to make His presence known to and through us, so that we may be a source of remembrance of the presence of God! Amen!! Good morning and have a pleasant day!!!

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