Thứ Năm, 8 tháng 11, 2012


Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome 
Lectionary: 671

Reading 1 Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
"This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
R. (5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
Reading 2 1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17
Brothers and sisters:
You are God's building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God's temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Gospel Jn 2:13-22
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
"Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father's house a marketplace."
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
"What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The Jews said,
"This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?"
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

Meditation:"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up"
What can keep us from the presence of God? Jesus’ dramatic cleansing of the temple was seen by his disciples as a prophetic sign of God’s action.  The temple was understood as the dwelling place of God among his people. When God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt, he brought them through the sea, and finally to Mount Sinai where he made a covenant with them and gave them a new way of life embodied in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). God gave Moses instruction for worship and for making the Tabernacle, or tent of meeting, which was later replaced by the temple. The New Testament tells us that these “serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary” – God’s Temple in heaven (Hebrews 8:5). Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is also a prophetic sign of what he wants to do with each of us. He ever seeks to cleanse us of sin and make us living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Do you want to be holy as God is holy?
 Jesus referred to the temple as his Father’s house which was being made into “house of trade” (John 2:16) or “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). That is why he used physical force to expel the money-chargers. The prophecy of Malachi foretold the coming of the Lord unexpectedly to his Temple to “purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord” (Malachi 3:1-4). Jesus' disciples recalled the words of Psalm 69: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” This was understood as a Messianic prophecy. Here the disciples saw more clearly Jesus as the Messiah who burned with zeal for God's house. The Jewish authorities, however, wanted proof that Jesus had divine authority to act as he did. They demanded a sign from God to prove Jesus right, otherwise, they would treat him as an imposter and a usurper of their authority. Jesus replied that the sign God would give would be Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews did not understand that the temple Jesus referred to was his own body. The “tent of his body” had to be destroyed to open the way to the presence of God for us. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus not only reconciles us with God, but he fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes us temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God's word enlightens our minds and purifies our hearts that we may offer God fitting worship and enjoy his presence both now and forever. Do you burn with zeal for the Lord’s house?
"Lord Jesus Christ, you open wide the door of your Father’s house and you bid us to enter confidently that we may worship in spirit and truth. Help me to draw near to your throne of mercy with gratitude and joy."

The Indestructible Temple
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Listen to podcast version here.  

John 2: 13-22 

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father´s house a marketplace!" His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me." The Jews then said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me, and I hope in your boundless mercy and love. Thank you for watching over me and keeping me in your friendship. Thank you for the precious gift of our Mother, the Church.

Petition: Lord, increase my zeal!

1. The Indestructible Temple: Today we celebrate the dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica, known as the “mother and head of all the churches.” Going to Rome and visiting this wonderful church, now some seventeen centuries old, one gets a sense of the durability of Catholicism. The Catholic Church has been around for a long time, and it will be around for a lot longer — until judgment day, to be exact. No matter how hard the world has tried, it hasn’t been able to destroy the temple of the Church. This should give us a deep confidence that the Lord is with us as we journey through history.

2. Purification: Being indestructible doesn’t mean, however, that the Catholic Church does not need constant purification. When our Lord arrived to the temple in Jerusalem, he found many things that marred the spirit of prayer and devotion that was to characterize that sacred building. His vigorous reaction serves to underline the high vocation of holiness that God had given to the Chosen People. We Catholics have inherited that call; yet all too often, the ways of the world creep into our souls. Each one of us needs to submit to the Lord’s purification. He will challenge us in our conscience, and sometimes that will sting like the whip of cords. But if we are sincere in our desires, we accept this with humility, aware that our souls must be living temples of God’s presence.

3. Consuming Zeal: When the apostles contemplated our Lord’s action in the temple, “zeal” was the word that summed it all up. Jesus is zealous because he doesn’t accept the status quo of entrenched mediocrity. The day he arrives it is no longer business as usual: His Father’s house WILL be respected. Too often we let the barnacles of laziness and the accretions of apathy weigh down and extinguish our zeal. Every day we must pray that the Lord will once again “enkindle in our hearts the fire of his love.” Our zeal in living the faith is part of the way God works to make this temple of his Church indestructible. Don’t we want to cooperate with his love, so that the “gates of hell will not prevail?”

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I love your Church. I thank you for the priceless gift of my Catholic faith. Protect the Church from all her enemies and help me to be an effective apostle filled with authentic zeal.

Resolution: I will offer myself to collaborate in a parish ministry or other Catholic apostolate out of love for the Church.

JOHN 2:13-22
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 84; I Corinthians 3:9c-11,16-17)
KEY VERSE: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up" (v 20).
READING: The Jerusalem temple was the center of worship and sacrifice for the Jews, and the visible sign of God's presence among them. While celebrating the Passover feast, Jesus was angered over the way the temple was used as a marketplace. He attacked the abuse of God's dwelling place by driving out the animals sold for sacrifice, and overturning the tables used by the money changers for collecting thetemple tax. Jesus came to supplant the rites and institutions of the old covenant with the new covenant of God's justice and love (Jer 31:31; Lk 22:20). Solomon's temple (the first temple) was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE. Herod's temple (the second temple) was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. It was replaced by the body of the risen Christ, the Church. Paul told the Corinthians, "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 3:11). He reminded Christians that they were God's temple since the Spirit of God dwelled in them (v 16).
REFLECTING: Do others recognize God's presence within me?
PRAYING: Lord Jesus, help me to have reverence for your Father's house.

Whenever the ninth of November falls on a Sunday, many are surprised to learn that the regular Mass has been replaced by the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran. The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of Rome, and therefore the Pope's cathedral. The foundation of the Lateran basilica goes back to the time of Constantine, the Emperor of Rome. The palace of the Laterani on the Coelian Hill belonged then to Constantine's wife Fausta. After Constantine's conversion he gave it to the Pope as his private residence and founded the church of the Lateran which became the mother of all the churches of Rome and the world. It was dedicated to "Christ our Savior" by Pope St. Sylvester on November 9, 324. In the twelfth century it was given as its second title "St. John the Baptist" whose name was also that of the ancient baptistery connected with the church; hence the present name of the basilica, St. John Lateran. Twelve councils have assembled in the Basilica and Lateran Palace, four of which were ecumenical, the first in 649, the last in 1512.

Dedication of the
Basilica of St. John Lateran
The Feast of the Dedication of the St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome on November 9th raises an important question: "why do Roman Catholics and other Christians spend so much money on Church buildings when it is the people who are the true Church and temple of God?"
Dr,Marcellino D'Ambrosio

As a rebellious teenager, I thought the Catholic church should stop wasting its money on expensive churches.  We ought to sell them all and buy food for the poor, I argued.

Funny thing.  Jesus, who cared much for the poor, did not have this attitude.  As an adolescent he yearned to spend time in Herod’s sumptuous Temple (Luke 2).   As an adult, he defended its integrity against the moneychangers (John 2).  Francis of Assisi, who gave away all his possessions, begged for money to buy materials to restore ruined churches which he rebuilt with his own hands.

Why this high regard for church buildings?  Ezekiel 47 gives us one important reason.  Because the liturgical worship that goes on inside, most especially the Eucharist, is the “source and summit” of our entire Christian life. 

The world is a dusty, tiring place that often beats us down.  The Church building is a haven, a quiet refuge, a place to encounter God.  Here we drink deeply of the life-giving waters of word and sacrament that revive our drooping spirits (Psalm 23).  The grace that flows from the altar bears us back into the world, changed, and able to change others, bringing healing and bearing fruit.
Saint Paul, in I Corinthians 3, gives us another reason to honor Churches.  George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, concluded from this passage that if we Christians are the Church, we should call our places of worship “steeple-houses.”  To call buildings “churches” obscures the fact that we are the Church.

The Judeo-Christian Tradition sees it differently.  The Church building is a mirror that, held up before us, reminds us of who we are.  The world tells us that we are consumers, employees and voters, and flashes a constant stream of icons at us every day to remind us of this. The Church building is an icon that reminds us of our deepest identity.  As we gather for Sunday worship, we who were scattered by diverse loyalties, professions, and life-styles, are now united as the Body of Christ and dwelling place of the Spirit.

How does a person enter the Church?  Through the cleansing waters of baptism.  Maybe that’s why there are holy water fonts at the doors of most Catholic churches.  Maybe those statues of saints are there to remind us that we are “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the family of God” (Ephesians 2:19f).
So what about all the expensive treasures of architecture, painting, sculpture, and stained glass?  Sell them all and use the proceeds to buy food for the poor?  What then would the poor have? 

In Texas, we have a homestead law that seeks to guarantee that no matter what financial misfortunes might befall people, they will not lose their homes.  The loss of one’s home is a loss of one’s dignity.  Our churches, from the local chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica, belong not to the hierarchy, but to the whole family.  They’ve been given to us by the hard work and contributions of our forebears to remind us of our dignity as sons and daughters of the living God.

The Lateran Basilica, whose dedication we celebrate every November, was donated to the Church by Constantine soon after he legalized Christianity in 313AD.  Ever since it has been, as the official cathedral of the Pope, the mother church of all Christendom, the cathedral of the world. 

It is there that the most powerful pope of the middle ages, Innocent III, had a dream of a magnificent church breaking apart only to be shored up by a poor man in a beggar's robe.  Soon afterwards, a group of beggars from Assisi arrived, led by a man named Francis, asking for his approval for their lifestyle and work.  Prepared by his dream, he recognized the hand of God, and encouraged a movement that renewed the Church.

As we meditate on this feast, let us allow zeal for God's house to consume us as it did Jesus and Francis, that we may embrace the task of purification, renewal and rebuilding given us by the Council that met in another great Roman basilica some forty years ago.
Ezekiel vision

The waters of the river gladden the city of God
‘You are God’s building …’
The world today is constantly giving us mixed messages—have the best body you can, but, here, eat this. Our readings today remind us how important the body is. It is a gift from God to be treasured and cared for—not merely physically, but spiritually. Spiritual care is often seen as an added or optional extra, rather than that which makes us truly who we are created to be.

The image of water flowing from the temple and changing the landscape into a land which flourishes reminds us of what happens when we allow God into every part of our being. Where does life-giving water flow from into our lives?

November 9
Dedication of St. John Lateran

Most Catholics think of St. Peter’s as the pope’s main church, but they are wrong. St. John Lateran is the pope’s church, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome where the Bishop of Rome presides.
The first basilica on the site was built in the fourth century when Constantine donated land he had received from the wealthy Lateran family. That structure and its successors suffered fire, earthquake and the ravages of war, but the Lateran remained the church where popes were consecrated until the popes returned from Avignon in the 14th century to find the church and the adjoining palace in ruins.
Pope Innocent X commissioned the present structure in 1646. One of Rome’s most imposing churches, the Lateran’s towering facade is crowned with 15 colossal statues of Christ, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist and 12 doctors of the Church. Beneath its high altar rest the remains of the small wooden table on which tradition holds St. Peter himself celebrated Mass.


Unlike the commemorations of other Roman churches (St. Mary Major, August 5; Sts. Peter and Paul, November 18), this anniversary is a feast. The dedication of a church is a feast for all its parishioners. In a sense, St. John Lateran is the parish church of all Catholics, because it is the pope's cathedral. This church is the spiritual home of the people who are the Church.

"What was done here, as these walls were rising, is reproduced when we bring together those who believe in Christ. For, by believing they are hewn out, as it were, from mountains and forests, like stones and timber; but by catechizing, baptism and instruction they are, as it were, shaped, squared and planed by the hands of the workers and artisans. Nevertheless, they do not make a house for the Lord until they are fitted together through love" (St. Augustine, Sermon 36).

St. Benignus

Feastday: November 9
Died: 467

Bishop of Ireland, the son of Sechnaa, the psalm singer of St, Patrick. Sechnan was a chief in Meath, Ireland, converted by St. Patrick. Benignus became a disciple of St. Patrick and succeeded him as the chief bishop of Ireland. He converted the Irish in Clare, Kerry, and Connaught. Benignus served as the superior of an abbey at Drumlease, erected by St. Patrick.


 Friday, November 9, 2012  
John 2,13-22 - Ordinary Time 

1) Opening prayer
God of power and mercy,
protect us from all harm.
Give us freedom of spirit
and health in mind and body
to do your work on earth.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2) Gospel Reading - John 2,13-22
When the time of the Jewish Passover was near Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting there.
Making a whip out of cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the money changers' coins, knocked their tables over and said to the dove sellers, 'Take all this out of here and stop using my Father's house as a market.'
Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: I am eaten up with zeal for your house.
The Jews intervened and said, 'What sign can you show us that you should act like this?'
Jesus answered, 'Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'
The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple: are you going to raise it up again in three days?' But he was speaking of the Temple that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what he had said.

3) Reflection
• Context. Our passage contains a clear and unmistakable teaching of Jesus in the Temple. Previously John the Baptist had given witness of Jesus saying that He was the Messiah (1, 29); the first disciples, on the indication of the Baptist, have recognized him as the Lamb of God, a quality of the Messiah: to inaugurate a new Passover and covenant, to bring about the definitive liberation of man (Jn 1, 35-51); in Cana, Jesus works a first sign to show his glory (Jn 2, 1-12): the glory becomes visible, it can be contemplated, therefore, it manifests itself. It is the glory of the Father present in the person of Jesus and which manifests itself at the beginning of his activity, in this way, anticipating his “hour” (17, 1). In what way is his glory manifested? God restores gratuitously with man a new relationship; he unites him intimately to him giving him the capacity to love like He loves, through the Spirit who purifies the heart of man and makes him son of God. But, it is necessary to recognize the immutable love of God, manifested in Jesus, responding with faith, with a personal adherence. 
• Jesus and the Temple. Now Jesus is in Jerusalem, in the Temple fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi (Ml 3, 1-3), he proclaims himself Messiah. Such a presence of Jesus is above all his teaching that produces tension. Now, the reader understands how the great disputes with the Jews always take place in the Temple; in this place Jesus pronounces his substantial denunciations; his task is to lead the people outside the Temple (2, 15; 10, 4). In last instance Jesus was condemned because he represented a danger for the Temple and for the people. Jesus goes to Jerusalem on the occasion of the Passover of the Jews: it is clamorous to manifest himself in public and to reveal to all that he is the Messiah. During that feast Jerusalem is full of pilgrims who have come from all parts and therefore his actions would have had a great effect in the whole of Palestine. When he arrived in Jerusalem he immediately is seen in the Temple where there are a number of people selling cattle, sheep and doves and the money changers sitting there. The encounter in the Temple is not with persons who seek God but dealers of the sacred: the amount paid to be able to open a stand to be able to sell was given to the high priest. Jesus chooses this occasion (the Passover) this place (the Temple) to give a sign. He takes a whip, an instrument which was a symbol of the Messiah who punishes vices and evil practices, and he drives out everybody from the Temple, together with the cattle and sheep. Worthy to be noted is his act against those selling the doves (v. 15). The dove was an animal used for the propitiatory holocausts (Lv 9, 14-17), in the sacrifices of expiation and of purification (Lv 12, 8; 15, 14.29), especially if those who offered it were poor (Lv 5, 7; 14, 22. 30ff). The sellers, those who sold the doves, that is to say, sold reconciliation with God for money.

• The house of my Father. The expression wants to indicate that Jesus in his actions behaves as a Son. He represents the Father in the world. They have transformed the worship of God into a market, a place for trading. The Temple is no longer the place of encounter with God, but a market where the presence of money is in force. Worship has become the pretext to gain more. Jesus attacks the central institution of Israel, the temple: the symbol of the people and of the election. He denounces that the Temple has been deprived of its historical function: to be the sign of the dwelling of God in the midst of his people. The first reaction to Jesus’ action comes from the disciples who associate this to Psalm 69, 10: “I am eaten up with zeal for your house”. The second reaction comes from the high priests who respond in the name of those selling in the Temple: “What sign can you show us that you should act like this?” (v.18). They have asked him for a sign; he gives them that of his death: “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up” (v. 19). Jesus is the Temple that assures of the presence of God in the world, the presence of his love; the death on the cross will make of him the only and definite Temple of God. The Temple constructed by the hands of man has fallen into decay; Jesus will be the one to substitute it, because He is now the presence of God in the world; the Father is present in Him.
4) Personal questions
• Have you understood that the sign of love of God for you is no longer the temple but a Person: Jesus crucified? 
• Do you not know that this sign is turned to you personally to bring about your definitive liberation?

5) Concluding Prayer
God is both refuge and strength for us, 
a help always ready in trouble;
so we shall not be afraid though the earth be in turmoil,
though mountains tumble into the depths of the sea. (Ps 46,1-2)