|Feast of the Dedication of the
Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
First Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
If you sometimes doubt that your life has any value, today’s readings should dispel those fears.
We are precious in the eyes of God. He will help us in our time of distress. That’s the message we can draw, especially from the reading from Corinthians and the Psalm.
“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy,” says St. Paul.
A couple of things strike me about this passage:
• The value God places on his “temples” is all-encompassing.In God’s eyes, a severely handicapped person has as much value as a Fortune 500 CEO or a Rhodes scholar. This value is God’s gift, not something we earn through our accomplishments, however commendable they may be. God values us simply because we are his much-loved creation.
• God will punish those who destroy “his temples.”As one who deals constantly with young people, I’m acutely aware of the many ways we can destroy or diminish other people, especially fragile people. Often we do so unthinkingly and some of it is unavoidable. Teachers can’t give everyone A’s and bosses can’t rate all employees as superior. Parents must discipline their children. However we need to find ways of evaluating and admonishing that open windows rather than close doors.
We cannot escape the pain of life. God doesn’t promise us a trouble-free passage so much as support when we need it. “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress,” says the Psalm. “Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and the mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.”
When we are in pain, we need to recall our inherent value in God’s
eyes and His love and support for us. When we must occasionally cause
pain to others, we must do so in a way that builds “temples” rather than
destroys them. If we do so, we will surely find the support we need
when we are the “temples” threatened with destruction.
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