Back on August 23rd an earthquake rumbled through Richmond Virginia and caused destruction in areas hundreds of miles away including the Nation’s Capitol. One of the buildings shaken was the Washington Monument on the west end of the National Mall. The tower shook, cracking some of the stones and causing interior wreckage. You’ve probably read how the National Park Service closed the Monument until further notice and began assessing the damage and beginning the repairs.
The Monument honors George Washington, the Founder and first President of our Country. Hundreds of thousands of visitors each year pay respect to the Leader of the Revolution by visiting and remembering the sacrifice he and our Forefathers made for our freedom and safety. It’s just a natural reaction that we, today, continue our devotion to the man and the Monument honoring him by repairing the damage and renovating this historic symbol.
It so happens that through the years on this day our Church in a similar way pays respect and devotion to our Lord by remembering and honoring the oldest Church in the Christian world. The Lateran Basilica in Rome was built by Emperor Constantine in the early three hundreds and the Lord and the Supper he instituted the night before he died for us have been celebrated there, daily, in the Lord’s memory ever since.
In our busy world it is easy to forget and overlook the historical churches that are landmarks reminding us of the foundations of our faith. We often go on unconscious of the thousands of early Christians who gave their lives to hand on to us the true faith. From the time Jesus rose from the dead until the Emperor Constantine made it legal to practice the Christian faith, thousands of heroic sacrifices have been made by our ancestors handing on to us what they fought to save.
It is certainly fitting that we remember and honor George Washington and care for the Monument dedicated in his honor. But even more so it is our privilege to remember and honor the Lateran Basilica, the first martyrs and the early Christians, symbolizing the supreme sacrifices made to win for us the freedom to practice our Catholic faith. So throughout the world the Church celebrates this great fact in our liturgies today.
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