Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. Why do we celebrate it? Because the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome is the head and mother church of all churches in the world. The basilica of St John Lateran is the oldest church of Rome and the highest-ranking church – even higher than St Peter’s basilica. It is the Pope’s cathedral.
Today’s readings connect two ideas: God is present in buildings and God is present in people. This tells us the reason why we celebrate today’s feast. It reminds us that at bottom the Church of Christ is basically made, not of buildings, but of people. Church buildings are symbols of something greater than themselves.
Today’s feast also reminds us of our own dedication to God. St. Paul, in today’s second reading, tells us to see ourselves as God’s temple, and as such we are a sacred people: “You are God’s building… Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
We are temples of the Holy Spirit, therefore, we should ensure that the actions we embrace reflect this truth. We have to put to death the sin in our lives and reclaim our lives for the work and dwelling place of God. Remember: Anything that destroys God’s temple is a sacrilege. Anything that violates or defiles its sacredness is a sin. If we are consumed with an excessive desire or lust for money or riches we defile the temple of the Holy Spirit, we destroy God’s temple.
Our bodies were not made to be “production machines” or means to earn money, get rich and accumulate things. Money or material wealth is not evil in itself; but God made us, his temple, for higher things. We are made for God… We are made to be temples of the Holy Spirit… we are made to work for the building up of the God’s kingdom.
Indeed, God wants to dwell within us in all his power and majesty. But often, he is unable to do so because we have made our hearts a ‘haven’ for sin and evil, a ‘refuge’ for greed and selfishness, a ‘shelter’ for materialism and worldliness. Sa Misang ito, humingi tayo sa Diyos kapatawaran sa maraming pagkakataon na dinungisan at nilapastangan natin ang templo ng Banal na Espiritu.
Indeed, there are practices in our lives that we ought to change in order to welcome the Holy Spirit more fully into our lives. Let us keep the temple of God sacred. May we be able to say the words of scripture: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”