Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (November 9, 2017)
Today we give special attention to the Lateran Basilica in Rome. This basilica is the official seat of the Holy Father as Bishop of Rome. The Roman emperor Constantine (274-337 AD), who converted to Christianity, built this church. To show our unity with Rome, we have celebrated the dedication of the Lateran Basilica since the 12th century.
Today’s readings stress how a church building must be dedicated to serving God. St. Francis de Sales notes:
While God is everywhere and in all time, why would God, at certain times, not want to have certain consecrated places, where Our Savior can be honored? It is the place where the Body of Christ is reserved. We are indeed able to say, “Truly the Lord is here.”
As the people of God, we are ‘living stones’ that make up the Church and become ‘God’s building’. We are temples of God, and the Spirit of God lives in us. Our good works are highly valued because they come from the Holy Spirit. Through divine love, the Spirit does these works in us, for us, and with us. We co-work with the Spirit. The works of good Christians are of such great worth that heaven is given in return for them.
Let us unceasingly work to prepare the Church on earth for its heavenly glory. The fervor of our sacred love for one another is the bond that unites us in the ‘House of God’. All that is not of God weakens the human spirit, and stands in the way of dedicating our hearts to God with the holiness of our lives. The Church is a house strewn with flowers of martyrs and holy people, invincible in their constancy and love.
Like these Christians who came before us, let us dedicate our hearts to serving God. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to flood our hearts with divine love, so that the Spirit may work in and through us, and make us ‘living stones’ of God’s work on earth.
(Adapted from Salesian writings, especially St. Francis de Sales, Oeuvre: Sermons.)