Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
(Ezekiel 47:1-2.8-9.12; I Corinthians 3:9c-11.16-17; John 2:13-22)
A man enjoyed fishing. He liked it so much that he started going fishing on Sunday mornings. One day his pastor confronted him about not attending church services. The man tried to explain his reason. He said that he prayed better in his boat on the water. He said that he could give greater praise to God in the quiet of the lake. He added that he there he felt profoundly thankful to God for the wonder of creation.
It is true that nature can raise our minds to God. But it cannot substitute for Sunday Eucharist in church. The church is the designated place where we meet other Christians for communal prayer. There we recognize ourselves as neither better nor more favored than the others present. Indeed, we see ourselves as parts of a community consecrated to the Lord. Also, a church contains symbols and images that remind us of our God who transcends space and time. We are not as likely to begin worshipping creation more than the Creator in church.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. It is the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the pope. By attending to this celebration, we honor all churches. We recognize that our salvation comes from our being incorporated in the People of God, which usually takes place in a church. We also note that in church we reenact the supreme sacrifice of love. Here we receive the Eucharist which defines us more than anything we can say or do on our own.