Immersed in Christ: November 9, 2020
Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
FEAST OF THE DEDICATION OF THE LATERAN BASILICA IN ROME
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 buildcrs 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? 1
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.” 2
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.”
Initiative: Let every church you see remind you to “build up the Church.”
1 1Peter 2:5; Ephesians 4:7-13; 1Corinthians 14:12, 26. 2 John 10:10.