09 November (Saturday). Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Ezek 47:1-12. Ezekiel’s hopeful vision: a life-giving river flows out from the Jerusalem temple, to bring new life to the wilderness.
1Cor 3:9-11, 16-17. Paul’s ideal of the ministry, as our loyal cooperation with the work of God, to form God’s people – who are in fact the very Temple of God upon earth.
John 2:13-22. Jesus protests against the defilement of the Temple: “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” Then he speaks about the Temple of his own Body, which will be destroyed, but then raised up from the dead.
First Reading: Book of Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-10, 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. People will stand fishing beside the sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim; it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.
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.”
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
For we are God’s fellow workers; 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 another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.
Gospel: 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.
A House of Prayer
Today we celebrate the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica Saint John of Lateran. This church is the Cathedral of the Pope, as bishop of Rome. The gospel of today which speaks to us about the temple of Jerusalem is reflective of this feast of the Dedication. From Gospel times the temple of Jerusalem has served as an image and a symbol of the Church – still a living temple in which our risen Lord is pleased to dwell among his people.
We listen to his warning, “You shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Are these words addressed to us today? Concentration on material things, on sport and entertainment, is such a priority for many people that they forget to go to church. On Sundays, how many of our baptised Christians are elsewhere than at worship, busy with their business and social lives, leaving so many churches empty, or almost…
“Zeal for your house will consume me.” He sets an example for us to follow, to let ourselves be consumed with desire for the glory of God and for the reign of justice and peace which God desires in all the earth! May love for the house of God devour us! May the universal Church which unites all the believers be a community devoted to the reign of God in the whole earth! Today’s feast gives us the chance to re-dedicate ourselves to the ideals of Jesus, and to being his living church here and now.