“But he spoke of the temple of his body.” (John 2:21)
We celebrate today the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica which is one of the great churches in Rome. Our celebration affords us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the word “Dedication” and its impact on our relationship with God.
To say a building or any object at all is dedicated to God is to say such can never be used for any other purpose other than for God. This is because, by the act of dedication, it becomes God’s dwelling in a special sense. Note that everything already belongs to God but then, a dedicated Church building is no longer an ordinary building; it is a place to meet God, a place to pray, a place of security and peace from the troubles of the world. Walking into a dedicated Church is truly a privilege; it is stepping into heaven.
As Ezekiel describes in our first reading figuratively, the house of God contains a river. “Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can MULTIPLY shall LIVE, and there shall be ABUNDANT FISH, for whenever this water comes the sea shall be made FRESH. Along both banks of the river, FRUIT trees of every kind shall GROW; their leaves shall NOT FADE, nor do their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear FRESH fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for FOOD and their leaves for MEDICINE.” Always bear this imagery in mind whenever you step into a dedicated church.
The saying is true that failure to respect the place where I live is a failure to respect me. In the same way, failure to respect the house of God is a failure to respect God. How do we show disrespect for the House of God?
- Turning the House of God into a Profit-Making enterprise. Jesus said: “you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Like it was in the time of Jesus, there are still many who go to Church not to worship but to find customers for their business. A parishioner once reported to him how a man was advertising his products and sharing flyers right from his seat during Holy Mass.
- Using our bodies without reference to God. Another way to disrespect God’s house is forgetting that our very bodies are the temples of God. As we celebrate the dedication of a building, let us never forget that our bodies are living Temples where God dwells. This is what St. Paul teaches us in our second reading: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my respect for your temple. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Feast of the Dedication of Lateran Basilica. Bible Study: Ezekiel 47:1-12, Psalm 46:2-9, 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17, John 2:13-22).