First, I want to thank you for your prayers while I was on a mission trip to Kitui, Kenya! I think of m...
Thank you for your prayers
October 19, 2014
Growing in our devotion to the Holy Angels
October 5, 2014
Sacrament of Penance
April 4, 2020
Dedication of St John Lateran
November 8, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
This Sunday is a bit unusual. Instead of the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Papal Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and St John the
Baptist and St John the Evangelist, which we call St John Lateran.
This church is so important because it is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and it is particularly the ‘Pope’s Cathedral’ because it is the place where the cathedra or chair of the Pope is maintained. This church is the oldest among the four major Roman Basilicas and is “omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput - the Mother and Head of all the Churches of the City and the World”. Here is what Pope Benedict XVI said on Nov. 9, 2008: “Today the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granted Christians freedom to practice their religion. The emperor himself gave Pope Miltiades the ancient palace of the Laterani family, and the basilica, the baptistery, and the patriarchate, that is, the Bishop of Rome’s residence— where the Popes lived until the Avignon period —were all built there. The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Savior; only after the 6th century were the names of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist added, and now is typically denominated by these latter. Initially the observance of this feast was confined to the city of Rome; then, beginning in 1565, it was extended to all the Churches of the Roman rite. The honoring of this sacred edifice was a way of expressing love and venerationfor the Roman Church, which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch says, “presides in charity” over the whole Catholic communion (Letter to the Romans, 1:1). On this solemnity the Word of God recalls an essential truth: the temple of stones is a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community, which in their letters the Apostles Peter and Paul already understood as a “spiritual edifice,” built by God with “living stones,” namely, Christians
themselves, upon the one foundation of Jesus Christ, who is called the “cornerstone” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; 1 Peter 2:4-8; Ephesians 2:20-22). “Brothers, you are God’s building,” St. Paul wrote, and added: “holy is God’s temple, which you are” (1 Corinthians 3:9c, 17). The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human beings, limited and sinful, to convert to form a “cosmos,” a well-ordered
structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints. This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the “ecclesia,” that is, the community of the baptized, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human beings, limited and sinful, to convert to form a “cosmos,” a well-ordered structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints. This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the
“ecclesia,” that is, the community of the baptized, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. From these two tables the Church of living stones is built up in truth and charity and is internally formed by the Holy Spirit transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, in this way becomes the spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.
Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23- 24). But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God. Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of MaryMost Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.” Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Paul and St. Michael may God bless our families, parishes, Archdiocese and the whole Church!