Dedication of the Latern Basilica (November 9, 2017)
Today the Church marks the anniversary of the dedication of the Cathedral church of Rome by Pope Sylvester I, on November 9, 324 AD. As long ago as this was, the truth is that human beings have been building one thing or another since the beginning of time: the Tower of Babel; the Ark; the pyramids; the coliseum; the Great Wall of China; The Eiffel Tower; the Statue of Liberty; the World Trade Center…
As co-creators with God, we are charged with making something good out of all that God has entrusted to us. We are charged with building a world marked by liberty, justice, freedom, peace, reconciliation, truth, honest, kindness and care. In short, we are called to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth, laying the ground work for that great and mysterious day when the ongoing creative, redeeming and inspiring work of God will reach its fulfillment: life on high with Jesus Christ.
Closer to home, there’s lots of work to be done. Building upon the foundation of Christ, Paul, Sylvester and countless others, we must build things that give glory to God and which serve the needs of one another. However, the most important things that we build aren’t things at all: they are our relationships with each other: husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, neighbor, and co-worker.
Look at Jesus himself. He never helped to break ground for a new school. He never laid a cornerstone for a new synagogue. He never constructed a monument. He never attended the ribbon-cutting for a new store. What he built was much more important and powerful: a web of relationships in which men, women and children personally experienced God’s love for them; a web of life and love meant to be shared and expanded with future generations.
Here we stand, countless centuries since the dawn of creation. So much has been built, but so much more, with God’s help, remains to be constructed and strengthened…especially honest, just, peaceable, freeing, life-giving relationships with one another.
Are we careful to learn from out experiences of the past?
Are we up to the task today?
Are we clear about the kind of foundation are we laying for tomorrow?