November 9, 2021

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

The Lateran Basilica—not Saint Peter’s—is the pope’s cathedral church. Given to the church by the emperor Constantine, it is the oldest church in Rome, and for a thousand years, was the home of the popes.

Our first reading describes a vision of the prophet Ezekiel that took place after the Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple. Ezekiel sees that one day the city would be restored and the temple rebuilt. He describes an idealized temple, with water flowing from it through the desert and into the Dead Sea, whose water is seven times saltier than ocean water. Ezekiel, however, sees the water flowing from the temple, turning the Dead Sea into freshwater.

In other words, whatever flows from God’s house is life-giving. The river symbolizes our baptism and the liturgy of the Eucharist, which transforms those of us who share in it with abundant life flowing from Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Vatican II reminded us that Christ is present in our churches in several important ways: in the Liturgy of the Word, and in the bread and wine become his body and blood; he is present also in the priest who ministers in his name. Finally, he is present in his people, as Paul reminds us today. Paul asks: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” We are the church, God’s temple, animated by the Spirit. We are the living stones built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. As members of Christ’s body, we are sent forth at every Mass to live the gospel message that we have just heard, and in doing so, we assume the responsibilities that are ours as Christ’s sisters and brothers.

Let Us Pray:

O loving God, help me appreciate more and more each day what it means to be your temple and a source of life for others.


Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.