Dedication of Lateran Basilica


Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
John 2:13-22


The Lateran Basilica was built by the emperor Constantine in about 324 AD. The Feast of its dedication has been celebrated in Rome on this date since the twelfth century. In honour of the Basilica, ‘the mother and head of all the Churches of the City and the World.’ The Feast was extended to the whole Roman Rite as a sign of unity and love towards the See of St. Peter, which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch said in the second century, ‘presides over the whole assembly of charity.’

In the first Reading, we are vividly privy to a Dream of Ezekiel, where the Temple, as a place of gathering in response to the Lord God’s invitation, becomes an experience of new life. This effect within the people is life-giving, just as the water issuing forth from the Temple had medicinal properties.

In the second reading, St. Paul calls us to see that we, the Church, are the living Body of Christ. He takes this concept of ‘Temple’ to mean the hallowed place where God dwells. This sacred place is not a building made of stone with ornate stained-glass windows; that sacred place dwells within us, the simplicity of humanity.

In John’s Gospel, the Johannine Community, after serious reflection around 100AD, intensified the meaning and seriousness of ‘the sacred’ within people’s hearts, and the place where we gather is ‘Holy’ due to the ‘faith community’. Finally, John takes this to a new level by saying that Jesus the Christ is the living Temple par excellence.

We, as Christ’s Living Body are called to be ‘life-giving’ to a world hungering and thirsting for Unity, Wholesomeness and Holiness. Food for Thought.

Kevin Walsh is a priest in the Diocese of Parramatta in Sydney. He has been formed in the Passionist tradition and Ministers to the Aged, the Sick, the Dying and the Bereaved.