Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Basilica of St John Lateran

One of the four major basilicas in Rome, a church visited by millions, a unique place for Church historians, the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome (the Holy Father) is the focus of our liturgy today.  We can ask why we have an architectural masterpiece placed on the calendar of annual liturgies.  It is referred to as John Lateran because the edifice is dedicated to the two greatest Johns of the founding years of the Roman Catholic Church:  John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.  This massive storehouse of Catholic Church history is situated on the Lateran Hill, one of Rome's famous "hills."  

For all of its historical importance, we are not worshiping stone, wood and marble.  This basilica has two important purposes:  it is both a reminder of the past and, like every other church building throughout the world, a reminder that everyone who enters anyone of these sacred spaces is uniquely "built" by God, our Creator.

St.  Paul understood this.  He reminds the Church in Corinth as well as all of us:  "Do you not know that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit, that the Spirit of God dwells in you? ... for the temple of God, which you are, is holy."

Can there be any doubt that life, your life, your very person is indeed sacred.  You are "sacred space."  This day can be a reminder to each of us to reflect upon what St. Paul is teaching us.  In our society today where we experience some treating their bodies and the bodies of others without any respect.  Did you ever stop to think this:  any time you are attending a meeting, that each person in the room with you has this unique characteristic?  Surely this reality is a part of what Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI sees in the call to a new evangelizing: renewing in the hearts and minds of all that each of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit.