Nov 9 – Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of the church of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. It is officially named ‘Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour, St. John Baptist and St. John the Evangelist at the Lateran’.
It is the oldest and ranks first (being the cathedral of Rome) among the four major basilicas of Rome, and holds the title of ecumenical mother church (mother church of the whole inhabited world). An inscription on the façade, Christo Salvatore, dedicates the Lateran as the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour, for the cathedrals of all patriarchs are dedicated to Christ Himself. As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, containing the papal throne, it ranks above all other churches, even above St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
“Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live.”
2020 has been a turbulent year, bookmarked by rising death tolls from COVID-19, natural disasters, humanitarian crises, civil unrest, and economic disruptions. The ‘woke’ culture has indirectly contributed towards polarisation of opinions, increased divisiveness and growing intolerance towards people who hold differing views. Even the comments of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, have been used to cast aspersions on the stance of the Catholic Church towards marriage and same-sex unions. We live in a conflicted and confusing world.
Today’s readings have been prescient. Some weeks back, I confided in some fellow Oxygen contributors that I was in a spiritual drought. Having left my previous place of work on a prompting to grow professionally and. Hopefully. contribute to the Church, I found myself in a corporate job navigating political minefields, which left me emotionally exhausted. Milestone events, albeit positive ones, such as settling down, buying and furnishing a new home, also contributed to my sense of being ‘in flux’. As much as I tried to ground myself in prayer, online masses and scripture reading with my spouse, I found myself yearning for a silent retreat to tune out the world and tune into God.
However, I am reminded in today’s readings not to let the peripherals distract me from my identity as a Christian. Just as Jesus cleansed the temple, He wants to cleanse our hearts and minds, making space for God to enter and dwell within us. As we celebrate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, let us remember that the material building, while symbolic, is not as important as being sacred sanctuaries of God. My brothers and sisters, let’s take this opportunity to declutter and let God in, and with Him, peace and contentment into our lives.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Eber)
Prayer: Father God, teach us to seek you in all that we do. May we always remember that You are the centre of our lives, and that all that we do should be a testimony of Your dwelling in us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for always loving and being there for us. Send your Holy Spirit to guide us in our journey.