Ezekiel 47:1-9 “…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.....”
Psalm 46: 2- 3, 5-6, 8-9 “…Come! Behold the deeds of the LORD, the astounding things he has wrought on earth.”
1 Corinthian 3:9c-11, 16-17 “…I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it.….”
John 2: 13-22 “…’Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’…”
Feast of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran, the name of the Pope’s cathedral in Rome. It was first called the Most Holy Savior, then 2 centuries later called St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. It stands as a temple of stones as a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community, of which Christ is the cornerstone. This and more can be found here .
In each of today’s readings, some aspect of our place of worship, the building itself is mentioned. Even our Feast is of the dedication of the Pope’s Basilica in Rome. In reflecting on the readings, I realized how often I have taken the building that housed my place of worship for granted.
In the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet describes his vision of a new temple; with symbols of life-giving water flowing from the temple. We begin near the end of the book, reading in the 47th chapter of Ezekiel. Israel has been through much strife, the ups and downs of being human and the choices we make. While he is in exile, Ezekiel responds to the call of the Lord to become His prophet. Dutifully relaying his visions to his people, Ezekiel becomes the Lord’s instrument to call the people back again. Reading earlier on, you see the sacrifice one makes to answer this call. At one point, the Lord asks him to lie on his side one day for every year that the Israelites were disobedient to God, and of course they didn’t always believe him. But, in today’s reading Ezekiel is reaching the mountaintop of the journey, as we hear about the glory of the rebuilt temple when the Jews will be back in Jerusalem.
In the second reading, from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, we are told we are God’s building, and that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Sometimes I think it would have been better to live in a time, without so many distractions. Our world has gotten preposterously busy, how does one remember to be and act as though we are of God today?
In the Gospel from John, we see Jesus in one of His rare moments as He acts out His disgust. Upon arriving at the temple, he drives out the money changers and merchants selling animals for sacrifice, telling them to “stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” Of course the Jews get upset and ask Jesus for a sign, to show his authority. And Jesus says “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” But, of course they did not understand that response, and neither did His Disciples, until Jesus had resurrected from the dead, 3 days after he was put to death.
So let us go forth today remembering our call to be temples of the Holy Spirit whenever we see our tall Church structures. As both Ezekiel and Jesus suffered for the people, may we look at our own suffering during these low economic times in this light, and offer them up for the good of the whole. Though not an excuse Lord, please forgive us, we have many distractions. Help us to see your Will for us today, and to heed your call to help each other out during these tough times. Amen.
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