November 9, 2016
by Rev. Richard Gabuzda
Creighton University's Institute for Priestly Formation
click here for photo and information about the writer

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

Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
John 2:13-22

Praying Ordinary Time

Gladness and Refreshment

Today’s feast, commemorating the dedication of the oldest church in the west and “mother” of all the churches in the western world including our own, draws us to gratitude and praise for the precious gift of faith. At the same time, the scripture readings for this day point us to the truth that the Church, Christ’s Body, lives today as in the past, worshipping in magnificent structures or in the simplest of buildings.

Faith in the Crucified and Risen Jesus remains the heart, center and focus of all who believe and, St. Paul reminds us, there is no other possible foundation for our faith. The miracle of faith, passed down from generation to generation, rests on him and takes us always to him, our Lord and Savior. 

But the Scriptures today also supply a clear answer to the question:  what keeps faith alive and fresh as generations come and go, as the fortunes of the world ebb and flow?  We take our cue from today’s psalm:  “The waters of the river gladden the city of God.”  The river, symbol of life and freshness, is depicted as the source of joy for the city of God.  We easily identify the city of God as the Body of Christ, the Church.  And what is the river?  It is none other than the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit’s consolation brings joy in the midst of life’s challenges and disappointments. The Holy Spirit prevents the proclamation of Jesus crucified and risen from being mere reporting of an event from long ago and far away, keeping the message fresh and alive and opening to us the path of encounter with this Risen Lord.

Fortunately for us, the river that is the Holy Spirit flows in the heart of each baptized believer, in my heart and yours.  Today would be a wonderful day to ask the Holy Spirit to stir up our hearts so that we might receive consolation and joy in the midst of today’s challenges and to be refreshed by a deeper encounter with the Risen Lord.

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