November 8, 2008


Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran

John 2: 13 –22

Zeal for God’s House

For the Pharisees, as well as the animal sellers and the money-changers, the Temple is a temple. It is an object or a building. No surprises then when they treat it the way the Gospel passage describes, and turn it into “a marketplace” (v. 16)

For Jesus, the Temple is “my Father’s house.” This belief is not new, since for the Jews, the Temple is the dwelling place of God among his people.[1] The difference is not in the belief but in one’s attitude toward the Temple.

At the same time, Jesus expands the understanding of the Father’s house from a building to the Temple his own body when he speaks of his resurrection in verse 19. In this way, he shows his audience the presence of God in him.

This understanding that Jesus gives to the presence of God in his own Body gives us some insights as we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. This basilica is the mother church of Christianity and the Cathedral of the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. As Christians, we believe that God dwells in His Church, the Body of Christ. Therefore, we are invited to love, respect the Church, and do all we can to make it more truly the dwelling place of God.

The Christian family is the domestic church. In our family, God truly dwells. We pray and work to bring that divine presence to all members of our families, as well as to those who come in contact with our families.

Then, each Christian, by the grace of Baptism, is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, God’s dwelling place. (St. Paul emphasizes this point in 1 Corinthians 3: 16 – 17, today’s second reading). The life mission of each Christian, consequently, is to show others that presence of God in the way we live our lives. In this way, God’s salvation will reach our brothers and sisters and give them life.

Finally, God is present in all men and women God has created in God’s own image and likeness. Now, this is the source of human dignity. Thus, we are invited to find the presence of God in all.

[1] Moloney, Francis J, SDB., The Gospel of John. Sacra Pagina Series, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 81.

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