Friday, November 9, 2018
Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. It’s a big deal feast and, as a young religious, I never really understood why. I thought to myself, “It’s a building, right? Why are we celebrating a building.” As I matured, I learned.
Perhaps some of you are familiar with Ken Follett’s book “The Pillars of the Earth”. Or perhaps others of you have visited the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain. You may have been, as I was, overwhelmed at the sheer enormity and span of these cathedral-building endeavors which reflect our desire to enshrine God.
What is it in us, as human beings, that will move us to give lifetimes and centuries to capturing God? What is it in us that will try to concretize our awe at the Almighty?
It was just such an inner drive that motivated the builders of the Lateran, the oldest and highest ranking of the four major basilicas in Rome. This “temple of stones” was understood by its builders to represent the living Church – you and me, who together are built up by Christ into his own Body.
What kind of temple are we, sisters and brothers – we who are all too aware now of the cracks in our structure?
We are, as Ezekiel visions and the psalmist confirms in today’s readings, a temple fed by the life waters of God.
Our Gospel shows that Jesus knew and believed this. He cleansed the temple in Jerusalem of its weaknesses. He then compared it to his own body, which is the true dwelling place of grace among us. He asked us to imitate him in the way we treasure and live our lives in this world because we too are Temples of God’s Grace.
A living fountain of grace flows through this living temple. God is in our midst as we build, and rebuild, the Church – brick by human brick.
May this feast renew our hope for our Church, cause us to call upon God for deeper courage, and witness to all the enduring power of faith.
Music: We Are God’s People – Fred Bock
This is a recently written hymn with an old time kind of sound.
English hymn text writer, Bryan Jeffery Leech, took the primary theme from Johannes Brahms’ 1st Symphony, 4th movement and wrote lyrics which have become a hymn standard. We Are God’s People is a majestic statement befitting Brahm’s regal theme. Allan Robert Petker has created an anthem setting and has intertwined many of the other themes that Brahms utilized in his 1st symphony.