Monday, XXVII Week of Ordinary Time, Year A

The mother and mistress of all churches

Readings: 1st: Ez 47:1-2. 8-12; Ps: 45; 2nd: 1 Cor 3, 11. 16-17; Gos: Jn 2:13-22

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today, the Monday of the thirty-second week of ordinary time, the church celebrates the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Rome.

This Basilica was built by Constantine and was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324. This feast was first observed in Rome, but later, it was extended to the universal Latin Church.

There are two important points about today’s celebration. First, the physical building, as well as our bodies, are God’s dwelling place.

Second, both the physical church building, and we are evidence and the manifestation of God’s presence on earth. So, we must be kept them holy and sacred.

Rather than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Pope’s church as the Bishop of the archdiocese of Rome is the Lateran Basilica, which bears on its facade: “omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput” (the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world).

In our first reading, the vision of the prophet Ezekiel about the temple of Jerusalem is presented to us most articulately and dramatically. This reminds us of God’s ever-abiding presence within his temple.

As a sign of God’s presence among his people, the Temple or “Church” is a place from where the river of God’s joy flows towards us. That is, to nourish and satisfy us. It is a place of refuge where we find eternal bliss.

In the gospel, Jesus’ action in the temple brings us to the climax and significance of today’s celebration. He reminds us of how we ought to treat and reverence God’s temple.

Therefore, as we commemorate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, let us joyfully acclaim with the psalmist: “The water of the river gives joy to God’s city, the holy place where the Most High dwell.”

Peace be with you all.

Maranatha!

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