Dedication of St. John Lateran church
Saturday, November 9, 2019 Dedication of the Basilica of St. John the
Lateran 1st Reading: Ezk 43:1-2, 4-7 2nd Reading: 1 Cor 3:9-11, 16-17 Gospel: Jn 2:13-22
As the Passover of the Jews was at hand, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple court he found merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, and money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the Temple court, together with the oxen and sheep. He knocked over the tables of the money-changers, scattering the coins, and ordered the people selling doves, “Take all this away and stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: Zeal for your House devours me as a fire.
The Jews then questioned Jesus, “Where are the miraculous signs which give you the right to do this?” And Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then replied, “The building of this temple has already taken forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?”
Actually, Jesus was referring to the temple of his body. Only when he had risen from the dead did his disciples remember these words; then they believed both the Scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The Gospel talks about the Temple because today is the Feast of the dedication of St. John Lateran located in Rome. This is the first Christian church edifice dating back to the 4th century when Emperor Constantine donated the lot for its construction. It survived the attack of the Vandals in the 5th century, a major earthquake and two big fires in the 9th and 14th century respectively.
Today’s Gospel invites us to look closely at our understanding of the concept of “church”. The word is used to refer to the building where we gather for worship, and also to the assembly of the chosen people of God. We are the “Church” gathered inside the church building on Sundays around the Eucharistic table to commemorate the Lord’s supreme self sacrifice for love of us.
Today’s feast is one good occasion to evaluate how we respect our church buildings. Does zeal for the house of God still consume us? As children, we were never allowed by our parents to eat inside the church. Today, parents themselves are chewing gums during the mass. Isn’t it discouraging to see our churches littered with bottles of mineral water and sandwich wrappers during our Sunday services?
The church building stands as symbol of our identity as the “Church” of Jesus Christ. The way we treat the symbol is indicative of how we value our identity as God’s people. –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., J.D., D.M., M.M.Ex.M., M.A.P.M.
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