09Nov 09 November, 2019. Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. Feast

1st Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-10, 12

The prophet Ezekiel  describes a river of life-giving water flowing out from the Jerusalem Temple

The Lord 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, 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.”

OR: 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17

We are in the Living Temple of God upon earth

[Brothers and sisters,] 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 someone else 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 you are that temple.

Responsorial: Psalm 45

R.: The waters of the river gladden the city of God

God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress:
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea. (R./)

The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within, it cannot be shaken;
God will help it at the dawning of the day.. (R./)

The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come, consider the works of the Lord,
the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.. (R./)

Gospel: John 2:13-22

Jesus’ Body is a Temple which will be destroyed and rebuilt

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 genuine house of prayer

Today our church brings to mind the basilica of Saint John Lateran, the Pope’s own parish church, the major diocesan church of Rome. The Lateran was (and is) the Pope’s Cathedral, since the time of emperor Constantine. Later, the papal household moved first to the Quirinal palace, and finally to where Vatican City now stands. The gospel about the purification of the temple of Jerusalem is apt for today’s feast. The temple serves as a symbol of the pilgrim church. It conveys both the idea of a sacred space, and the need for constant purification of the church’s structures.

In the temple Jesus found people selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. Today it is not in our churches that trade, business, and commerce of all kind are conducted; but plenty of commerce goes on nowadays, on Sundays. Our obsession with shopping plus our emphasis on weekend leisure makes many people forget to go to church. Even some who are occasional believers in Christ will often find themselves too caught up in other business to join in Sunday Mass.”Zeal for your house will consume me.” Can we find again the wellsprings of zeal and enthusiasm that Jesus refers to? How can we rekindle eagerness in our community, to join together for worship in the house of God? May we hope to again see our churches resounding with joyful praise? May we gather for prayer as often as we do in shopping centres and football stadiums? We pray that the universal Church may be a community of true worship, led by pastors guided by the spirit of Christ!