Never a dull moment in the Catholic Church, always something exciting happening and something to learn about.
Today the Church and the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “Mother and head of all the churches of Rome and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granting Christians freedom to practice their religion.
The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Savior; only after the 6th century were the names of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist added, and in ancient Rome this was the church where everyone was baptized. Initially, the observance of this feast was confined to the city of Rome but in 1565 was extended to all of the Churches of the Roman rite.
On this solemnity, we hear in the readings of the Mass, that the temple of stones is a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community. In the letters of the Apostles Peter and Paul, we are reminded that we are all Temples of the Holy Spirit created by God to be “living stones” built upon the one foundation of Jesus Christ, who is called the “cornerstone”.
“Brothers, you are God’s building,” St. Paul wrote, and added: “holy is God’s temple, which you are” (1 Corinthians 3:9, 17). We are formed and transformed by the Word and the Body of Christ, making us living temples of God. We are His representatives in a world that has become hostile to the teachings of Christ, but we must present the Truth and the Joy and Hope that accompanies it, to all we meet.
However, this feast day also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate and praise the goodness of God. Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical gift from past generations. For this we call upon the intercession of our Blessed Mother, that she help us to become the “house of God,” a living temple of His love.
In the words of our Saviour Himself, “Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it” and that is exactly what she did in the most perfect way.