Nov 9 2020 Reflection
Monday 9 November 2020
First Reading: EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
PS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
Second Reading: 1 COR 3:9C-11, 16-17
Gospel Reading: JN 2:13-22
Today’s Note: Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.
You are God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
As the doors of this church were first thrown open in the year AD 313, it’s easy to imagine the contagious joy the Christians there felt. After nearly three hundred years of celebrating Mass in secret and hiding their faith for fear of persecution, believers could now come into the light: the emperor Constantine had made Christianity legal! Not only that, but Constantine gave them their first official church: a place where they could gather in full view of the public.
Ever since then, this church, the Church of St. John on the Lateran Hill in Rome, has been the central church of Catholicism. It remains the official seat of the bishop of Rome, the pope, and therefore holds a special place of honor, even above St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican!
It’s amazing to consider all of the Masses and celebrations that have occurred for nearly two millennia on the site of this church. Yet we should also consider what has come out of this church.
The word “Mass” itself is translated from the Latin word missa, which means “dismissal.” That’s why our Mass ends in a commissioning that urges us to “go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”
That’s exactly what has happened at the Lateran Basilica for all these centuries. God’s people have come through its doors to strengthen their faith, and then they have gone out ready to bring the good news of Christ to the world. Entering this church, they become more fully the Church—the body of Christ—that Jesus wants them to be, and they bring his light to everyone else.
Just think, if it weren’t for this “mother and head of all churches in the world,” you might not even have a church to go to. So it’s only right to honor the day of its dedication. Remember that the next time you walk through the doors of your church. You are going there to be fed. You are going there to receive Jesus into your own body and soul. All so that you can then go out and witness to his glory and his love.
“Jesus, strengthen me so that I can fulfill my own mission to love and serve you in this world.”