Scripture by Fr Kevin Waldie, SM
November 9: Dedication of the Lateran: Readings:
1. Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 63; 2. 1
Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; Gospel, John 2:13-22.
Temple imagery very much dominates this feast day. The temple, God’s house or
dwelling, suggests a clear point of focus.
And so it is especially the cathedral church, the Lateran, in Rome that assumes centrestage this Sunday.
Ezekiel’s wonderful piece of text sets up a certain understanding of the holy
building and its space dedicated to God.
It is to be revered because out of it flow the waters of life. With its streams of living water flowing out into the world around it, there is clearly a divine origin to all life.
It is a picture surprisingly close to the one depicting the Garden of Eden in
Genesis Paul’s temple imagery in 1 Corinthians shifts the focus from the physical world of buildings into the spiritual realm. Like the earthly temple created to honour and point out God’s presence in the midst of the world, so Paul would have the Christian community’s members together give lively witness to the power of God, its builder.
This dramatically transforms the idea of faith lived in the midst of the world.
When Jesus, in today’s passage from John, comes to the temple in Jerusalem,
the evangelist aids a deeper awareness concerning the significance of this sacred space. Once John’s Jesus has caused a scene in the temple by expelling those using it improperly, the Gospel text takes up the transferred sense mirrored in Jesus’ body. For in his human body Jesus is the true presence of God on Earth. And it is that same body that suffered and died in order
to rise again as the source of eternal life.
In the light of these readings, the Lateran cathedral church stands as a perpetual reminder that we are the body of Christ, living temples who show God’s presence to all around us.