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Dedication Of The Lateran Basilica In Rome

Thursday, November 9, 2023

by Fr. David M. Knight

View readings for Thursday, 31st Week of Ordinary Time here.

Lectionary no. 701ff. or 671 (Ez 47: 1-2, 8-9, 12 or 1 Cor 3: 9-11, 16-17; Ps 46: 2-3, 5-6, 8-9; Jn 2: 13-22)

The building we focus on today was originally the mansion of the Lateran family in Rome. When Constantine donated it to be a church, it was called “St. John’s” because served by the monks of the monastery of St. John the Baptizer next door. Now it is the basilica of Our Most Holy Savior, but people just call it “the Lateran.” It is the cathedral of the diocese of Rome.

John 2:13-22: Jesus drove the merchants out of the temple, saying, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” When asked for a sign of his authority to do this, he said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.... he was speaking of the temple of his body.”

1Corinthians 3:9-17: We are that body: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?... God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

The temple (the Church) is still under construction. We are both the builders and the building material!

Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices.... You are God’s building. I laid a foundation, and... each builder must choose with care how to build on it.

We are all called and empowered to do this. This is why, in the Anamnesis, we “remember” his Ascension together with his death and resurrection:

He...ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things. The gifts he gave were... to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

We should be “eager for spiritual gifts,” and “strive to excel in them.” But the goal is always “for building up the Church.” What motivates us to do this? (1Peter 2:5; Ephesians 4:7-13; 1Corinthians 14:12, 26).

Ezekiel 47:1-12 is a vision of the temple. Water is flowing out of it, getting deeper and deeper until it becomes “a river that could not be crossed.” And God promises:

When it enters the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature will live... everything will live where the river goes. On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail... because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.

Our motivation for “building up the Church” is that the Church is building up the world, making “stagnant waters, fresh.” Wherever the Church goes, “every living creature will live”—not just have life, but “have it to the full” (John 10:10).

The Rite of Communion invites us to contemplate this; look forward to the “end time”; experience, for a brief moment, the “peace and unity” of the Kingdom, the joy of the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.”

Action: Let every church you see remind you to “build up the Church

Find Ways to Come to Mutual Understanding

Same Day: November 9, 2017: Thursday, Week Thirty-One

In Romans 14: 7-12 Paul uses the concept of stewardship to resolve the problem of judgmentalism within the Church. In his day the “judaizers” were condemning Gentile converts for accepting the freedom the Church gave them not to observe all the cultural prescriptions of the law of Moses (Acts 15:29). Paul took a firm but compassionate position:

Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘no idol in the world really exists,’ and that ‘there is no God but one’…. It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge…. they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol [even though it was not, in fact, sacrificed to idols: 8:10]; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled…. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.” (1Corinthians 8: 4-13).

Paul condemned those on both sides who presumed to judge others. “Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat….” We are all servants and stewards of God. “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves [but] to the Lord…. So then, each of us will be accountable to God. “ He asks, “Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall” (Rom. 13: 3-4). Whether we are being judged or judgmental, we need to trust that the Lord will set all things right: “I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.”

Luke 15: 1-10 shows us that Jesus’ concern is not to judge but to save. “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?” As faithful stewards acting according to the mind and heart of our Lord, our concern is not to find fault, but to find ways to come to mutual understanding with those in the Church we disagree with. We “search carefully,” not only for the person we think is lost, but for the reason why that person thinks differently than we do. We listen. We respond sincerely to what we hear. And above all, before we discuss the issues, we “search carefully” for the experience of God we hold in common. We begin by sharing our spiritual experience; then we have a basis of unity from which we can discuss our intellectual disagreements. If we have enough trust to “believe we shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living,” we will in fact find the good in each other’s hearts.

Action: Be Christ’s steward. Have concern for every one of his sheep.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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