November 9, 2020
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community
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
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
1Corinthians 3:9-13, 16-17
John 2:13-22

Praying Ordinary Time

A homily by Pope Francis on this Feast in 2019

Perhaps some historical background will help. The site for the Basilica of St. John Lateran was occupied in ancient times by the palace of the Lateran family. It came into the hands of Constantine through his wife, Fausta, and he gave it to the Church no later than 311. After a council was held there in 313, it became the center of Christian life in Rome, the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome, which it still is today. Its first name was Basilica of the Savior, but was later changed to St. John, due to a Benedictine monastery nearby dedicated both to St. John the Baptist and to St. John the Evangelist.

In the gospel reading Jesus is angered, because the temple, their center of worship and the place where God dwells, is treated like a market place. In the second reading Paul reminds us that we, as individuals and as a body, are God’s temple, not as a center of worship, but as a place of God’s dwelling. We run the risk of allowing ourselves-as-temples to be treated like a market place. There is daily a lot of traffic going through us-temples: job, family, social interactions... Even cloistered communities are not sheltered from inner traffic. And, if we use the internet, information traffic becomes a flood. We risk losing Paul’s perspective and allowing our life noise to drown God’s voice in our lives. As a result, when God calls, all lines are busy.

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