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.
1 Cor 3:9-11,16-17
You are God’s building
Today’s feast commemorates the anniversary of the dedication of the Pope’s Cathedral in Rome. It may seem strange as to why we should be celebrating a feast which is so distant and far away. I believe the celebration of this feast will remind us of at least two of the four marks of the Church which is — One and Catholic.
We may be separated by geography from Rome, but we are certainly one whole. Christ is the Head of the Church and we, as its members of this body, will then have the privilege of being part of a faith which all believers accept to be true. Catholic, which means universal, makes us part of a Church to which we can find parishes throughout the world. Unlike our separated brethren, it is possible to find a Catholic Church in every major city, and even in rural villages. But the feast of today is not intended to be a celebration of bricks and mortar but, rather, it is one where we celebrate the living stones which make it up, that is, all the believers.
St Paul reminds us in the second reading that we are God’s temple, and that His spirit lives within us. This feast reminds us that we also need to honour the spirit of God within us and not subject it to grief as a result of sin and evil. As we continue with our lives, let us pause to ask God to rekindle within us the spirit of fervour within us to continue to serve Him. Just as we celebrate this great feast of a building, let us pray for the living buildings of our bodies that we may continue to worship God in sincerity and love.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we give thanks for such a wonderful faith which we possess.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for the gift of faith.