THE DEDICATION OF THE LATERAN BASILICA

THE DEDICATION OF THE LATERAN BASILICA

WordFromOurPastorMy sisters and brothers in Christ,

Just as last Sunday, the celebration of All Souls took precedence over the Sunday liturgy, so today the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, takes precedence over this normal Sunday liturgy. The reason is that the dedication of the Lateran Basilica is a Feast of our Lord. It is not about Saint John the Baptist but about a Church dedicated to God in which we celebrate Jesus Christ Himself. Every dedication of a Church is about Jesus Christ and about worship in spirit and in truth.

This Basilica in Rome has been considered the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the Cathedral of the Pope. Actually, today, all of the four great basilicas of Rome are considered more or less Cathedrals of the Pope.
Historically, however, this was the first so considered and so has a special place in the liturgy of the whole Church throughout the world.

We have to be honest and say that today’s celebration is also about the role of the Bishop of Rome in the life of the Church. This is not about power, but about service. Yet we all know that the reality of service is that
it can turn into power. Thus we can pray in the liturgy today for the service in charity of the Bishop of Rome to the other bishops and to the universal Church.
If we look at the readings in terms of Church and the service of the Bishop of Rome, our Pope, we can see in the first reading, from the Prophet Ezekiel, a reflection of what the Church and the service of the Pope are supposed to be: the water of life flowing out from God and giving life to all that it touches. This is the ideal and it is rarely completely reached. Yet we have seen so many holy Popes in the last one hundred years that we can understand that the role of the Pope and the role of the Church is to give us life.
qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqThe second reading today, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that we are the Church, the temple of God. We are not the Church all by ourselves in some exclusive way.
Each of us is the Church and yet together we are the Church. Each of us is a temple of God and together we are God’s people.
Finally, in the Gospel today, from Saint John, we understand how the body of Christ points to resurrection, for Him and for us. We are to recognize in all of this the hand of God: Jesus dies for us and we must die for one another. This is the Church and this is why we celebrate the dedication of a Church. The Bishop of Rome, our Pope, can lead us to walk with Christ–but we must be the ones who walk.

Father Jesus