Homily for the feast of the Dedication of Saint John of Latran - Jn. 2:13-22


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, « Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade. » His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me."


"The Jews then said to him, « What sign have you to show us for doing this? » Jesus answered them, « Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. » The Jews then said, « It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days? » But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken."




Homily:


"The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."


Today we celebrate the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica Saint John of Latran. This church is the Cathedral of the Pope, because the Pope is the bishop of Rome, and, as such, he possesses a church-cathedral, that is to say a church where he possesses his seat, or his cathedre. The Basilica Saint John of Latran, which is not to be confused with Saint Peter's Basilica, was chosen as the Cathedral of the Pope because it is the oldest church in Rome which was dedicated to the Savior. Actually, this Basilica is also called Basilica of the Saint Savior.


The gospel of today which speaks to us about the temple of Jerusalem is reflective of this feast of the Dedication. The temple of Jerusalem serves as an image and a symbol of the Church of Christ living today, about twenty centuries after the time of the Lord.


"In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, « Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade. » His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me."


Listen to what is said to us by the Savior of the world: "You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." Are these words addressed to us? I fear that they are, but today, trade, business, and commerce of all kind are not conducted inside the churches, they take place outside, sometimes just next door, including Sundays. And this concentration on material things is of such import to the life of the people that they forget to go to church. On Sundays, instead of seeing the believers in the church, we see them elsewhere, conducting business. If they conducted their businesses in the churches, they would be present at least in body, although not in mind; but no, they are neither present in body nor in mind, and on Sundays the churches are empty, or almost...


"His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me." (Ps. 68, 10)"


Behold the example to follow! Behold what all the Christians have to do in order to follow Christ--to consume oneself with goodwill for the glory of God and for the reign which he wants to institute at all costs in the hearts, in the houses, in the communities, in the countries, and in all the earth! May the goodwill for the house of God devour us! May this church in which we are staying be the place of prayer, and not one of trade! May the universal Church which unites all the believers be a community of praying persons and saints, all devoted to the propagation of the reign of God in the whole earth! Behold what must be our desire! Behold what must be maintained in the deepest recesses of our hearts!


"The Jews then said to him, « What sign have you to show us for doing this? » Jesus answered them, « Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. » The Jews then said, « It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days? » But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken."


Jesus compares in his preaching the temple of Jerusalem with his body which must revive three days after his death. Indeed, by his Resurrection, the Lord defeated death, he hounded all the sellers from the temple and inaugurated in him the reign of God in the Creation renewed and restored in its first splendor! Prepare us to witness this event! The Lord is going to actualize his sacrifice on the altar, he is going to make present for us his victory over death, he is going to invite us to his table in order to complete the establishment of the reign of God in us! By the eucharistic communion, Jesus will be in us; he will invite us to repeat with him: "Zeal for thy house will consume me." May Mary assist us and help us to answer the invitation of the Lord!



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