Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Nov. 9, 2014)

We celebrated All Souls last weekend, and I’m sure it was a pensive time for everyone at Mass that weekend. This weekend, it’s the total opposite. We’ll celebrate the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. And I’m pretty sure that most folks will be asking: “So what’s this have to do with me, with my life?”

First off, St. John Lateran is a special basilica. Every diocese has a cathedral. The Lateran is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, and the seat of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis. This makes it even more significant than St. Peter’s. It is the mother church of the whole inhabited world. It was perhaps the first Church the Christians used after the Edict of Milan, when they emerged from the catacombs after Constantine’s ended the persecutions.

The wooden altar on which St. Peter celebrated Mass while in Rome is inside the main altar. The heads of Sts. Peter and Paul were once believed to be inside busts above the main altar. Part of the table on which the Last Supper was celebrated is said to be behind a bronze depiction of the Last Supper. At one time the Holy Stairs was also in the Lateran, the stairs in Pilate’s house on which Jesus is said to have walked during his trial. It is a marble stairs and is now covered with wood to protect it.

But still what does this have to do with my life? I would answer by pointing to the First Reading from Ezekiel. Water flows abundantly from the temple forming a river and reviving life of everything along theriver banks. Think of this as you look around your own parish church this weekend. Let the focus be on “us” rather than “me.” How has the living water flowed from your parish into your community? Think of the daily and Sunday Masses, the funerals, weddings, baptisms, school Masses, special celebrations, Holy Week and the Easter Triduum, the Advent and Lenten prayer services, town meetings, the quiet moments before the Blessed Sacrament, etc.

It’s not just the bricks and stones and artwork that make a Church beautiful. It’s also the lives of those who come to worship the Lord with each other. The living stones (us) combined with the natural stone make for a lovely dwelling place for the Lord God.

Pray for your fellow parishioners!

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