READINGS for 2007-11-09
Feast of the Dedication of Lateran Basilica in Rome
I AM HOLY
…for the temple of God, which you are, is holy. – 1 Corinthians 3:17
This is difficult for me to believe.
Because I know just how messed up I am.
I look at my life and cringe sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m far from being a criminal. But I do know how I fall short.
And then I look around and I see Jesus. He isn’t staying away from the temple, which is me. He is around and waiting for me to tell Him which merchant I want Him to drive away.
Is it the merchant that sells unrighteous anger?
Is it the merchant of gluttony?
Is it the merchant of pride?
I am holy!
Because I am His.
My actions are not holy. But I am not my actions. I have to remember this. Because when I know who I am… and what I am is the temple of God that is holy… then I can decide to be and act like who I am. Victoria L.
What merchants in you does Jesus have to drive away?
Make my heart a dwelling place, a temple just for you.
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
For the Jewish People, the Temple was central to their liturgy and worship. Without it, they were at a loss as to what to do. This is one of the reasons why the Scriptures were eventually codified in a definitive work — because when they were in exile inBabylon and the Temple had been destroyed, the Word of God was all that they had left to focus upon. For Christians, the Church is the official place of gathering but it is not the be all and the end all. The primary expression of Church is found in the People of God themselves. The buildings are important but the people more so.
1 Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the facade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He led me outside by the north gate, and around to the outer gate facing the east, where I saw water trickling from the southern side. 8 He said to me, “This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah, and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. 9 Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. 12 Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”
P S A L M
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
R: The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High.
1  God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. 2  Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea. (R) 4  There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. 5  God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed; God will help it at the break of dawn. (R) 7  The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 8  Come! behold the deeds of the LORD, the astounding things he has wrought on earth. (R)
1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
Paul is quite clear that it is the people of God who must take primacy when it comes to the priority of the Church. Buildings are well and good, but if there is no one to use them, what is the point of building them? The formation of the people in the ways and truths of the Gospel is far more important than bricks and mortar buildings. It is the holiness of the people of God that will endure to succeeding generations far more effectively than a building. Let us focus on building ourselves up in the Spirit before we worry too much about buildings and edifices.
9 You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, 11 for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. (R) 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and
that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
G O S P E L
Jesus assures the people that the Temple will be rebuilt in three days once it is destroyed, however, He was speaking of the Temple that was His body! Jesus wants to shift the focus of peoples’ worship from a building to their person in order to emphasize the fact that what we are called to is a relationship with God, not some sort of commitment to a set of prayers in a particular building. Churches are important for gathering people to pray but they are not the focus of our faith. Jesus should be the focus of our faith!
13 Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. 15 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, 16 and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” 17 His disciples recalled the words of scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 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.
think: The formation of the people in the ways and truths of the Gospel is far more important than bricks and mortar buildings.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Luke 23-24
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint Callistus I
Callistus I lived during the early part of the third century. He was a slave in Rome who was entrusted by his Christian master to be in charge of a bank. The saint lost the money. In fear of being punished, Callistus ran away. He was caught when he jumped into the sea to escape. He was sentenced to be chained and put to hard labor in a mill. His creditors allowed the man to be free in the hope that they could get their money back.
Not long later, Callistus was again arrested. He got involved in a fight. As a consequence, he was sent to the mines of Sardinia. When the emperor ordered for the release of all Christians condemned in the mines, Callistus was one of those freed.
Pope Zephrinus met the slave and learned to trust him. The pope made Callistus in charge of the public Christian cemetery in Rome. He proved himself worthy of the trust given him. Pope Zephrinus and Callistus became good friends. The latter was ordained a priest and was made papal advisor.
In the years which followed, Callistus succeeded the pontificate. He proved to be a merciful pope that some people complained on the amount of mercy shown to sinners and murderers.
Pope Saint Callistus died in glorious martyrdom in c.222.
Saint John Damascene
John Damascene (eighth century) was born to a Christian family in Damascus. During his governance in the city, the emperor made a decree. He forbade Christians from displaying images of our Lord, the Blessed Mother and the saints. John did not agree to this. The pope even urged him to make known to people that it was actually a good thing to keep holy statues and pictures. They reminded the people of the Lord and the saints. John sent three letters for the emperor. He informed him about these wrong beliefs. The emperor was so furious. John, on the other hand, resigned as governor. He gave away his wealth and decided to enter the monastery. In the monastery, he wrote books in defense to the Catholic faith. He served other monks in the humblest of ways. He sold baskets in the streets of Damascus. Those who recognized him as their previous governor ridiculed him. It was painful for the saint to fathom all the mockery. He consoled himself by thinking of the Son of God who chose to be born in a stable.
Saint John Damascene died in c.749.
A DAY TO THINK WITH AND FEEL WITH THE CHURCH
Our Liturgy for the commemoration of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome invites us to two “prayer thoughts”:
FIRST,we are invited to thank God, and to pray for the unique ministry of the Pope. The City of Rome has four great basilicas: St Peter, St Paul, St Mary Major, and St John Lateran. We celebrate today the inauguration of the Basilica of Saint John, the oldest and the first of the four great churches of Rome. The Basilica honors both St John the Baptist and St John the evangelist. Originally a palace used by Emperor Constantine the Great, the edifice – known as the “Lateran Mansion,” since it stands on a land owned by the Laterani family – was donated in 313 A.D. by the emperor to be used as a church and a residence of the Pope. Among the relics preserved on its high altar are: parts of the original wooden altar used by Peter, and the heads of Sts Peter and Paul.
The Basilica carries on its façade Latin inscriptions describing it as “The Mother and the Head of all the Churches of the City and of the World.” In fact, the Basilica still serves today as the Cathedral Church for the Pope as Bishop of Rome who, as St Ignatius of Antioch declares, “presides over the whole assembly of charity.” We then should take the time today to remember in prayer the Pope who has the unique ministry of uniting the Church in the name of the Lord Jesus.
SECOND, we are invited to reflect on the meaning of our “Being Church.”
Our liturgical Readings make us reflect on the Church’s teaching that the real Church is not the structure of stone… but the person and the assembly of the believers who must be “living temples” of God’s presence. The Christian community – whether numerous or small, materially endowed or poor – is the real–“Church.” In its fellowship and missionary work must be felt the “presence of the Lord Jesus.” Unlike the believing and worshipping community of Israel, the Christian community must then strive to be genuine in its motives, and deep in its bond of love. Fr. Domie, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTION: The Christian community – whether numerous or small, materially endowed or poor – is the real “Church.”
LORD JESUS, thank you for making us part of your living body that is the Church. Thank you for the gift of our Christian baptism. Inspire us so that our lives will be a witness to others about the beauty of your Church. Help us that we may not be instruments of division in your Church. Amidst the stain of sin and scandal that hurts your Church… let us be a healing balm. Let us be bringers of encouragement and exhortation. In a special way we pray that you strengthen in health, in faith and love, your servant the Pope. Amen.
St. Agrippinus, bishop, pray for us.
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