Sunday Scripture Readings

DEDICATION OF THE LATERAN BASILICA IN ROME, NOVEMBER 9 Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 46; 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22 OUR GOOD NEWS: We thank God for his gift to us of the Church. The Church of St. John Lateran, which dates back into the early centuries of the Christian era, is the official Mother Church of Catholic Christianity, rather than the (relatively) more recent and familiar Basilica of St. Peter. Today is therefore our opportunity for joyful celebration of our long and glorious religious heritage. In the first reading, God granted the prophet Ezekiel a symbolic vision of His plans for a new, restored Temple, which we fittingly interpret as applying to the Church, and in particular to the Mother Church, the Lateran Basilica. In desert areas the most precious gift is water, here representing God’s life-giving blessings which flow through His Church. According to Ezekiel’s symbolic imagery, this heavenly water sweetens the salt sea and provides healing and food in abundance along its banks. "There fruit shall serve for food and their leaves for medicine." Truly, these are the great and lasting benefits enjoyed by us as God’s people. Today’s psalm continues this metaphor of a miraculous river whose "waters gladden the city of God" who dwells in its midst. With the loving and all-powerful God, "our refuge and our strength, our ever-present help in distress," we can rest in peace amid life’s trials. "Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea." Today, even more than centuries ago, we live in anxiety from calamitous threats. Reassurance is most welcome in our time of dangers. Fear not! The selection from St. Paul begins with reference to God’s servants who have contributed to building up the Church. Paul the missionary "laid the foundation," entrusting further up-building to successors. Most of us have never worshiped in or even seen the Basilica of St. John Lateran, but today we celebrate this symbol representing all who have contributed to the spread and care of the Church over the past 2,000 years. In John’s telling, the Gospel passage illustrates a basic truth of Christianity. The old order of worship is to be replaced by a new one, an order no longer focused on the old Temple but on the Body of Christ. "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up" refers to "the temple of His Body."

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