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.
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
The angel brought me to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’
1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
You are God’s building. By the grace God gave me, I succeeded as an architect and laid the foundations, on which someone else is doing the building. Everyone doing the building must work carefully. For the foundation, nobody can lay any other than the one which has already been laid, that is Jesus Christ.
Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.
Just before the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem and in the Temple, he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: Zeal for your house will devour me. The Jews intervened and said, ‘What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.
“Let each man take care how he builds upon it.”
We take many of the gifts that God has bestowed us with for granted. Unawareness, denial, and complacency with regard to our gifts are but some of the ways that we limit our potential to shine. Insiduously, these habits then lead us to (foolishly) desire gifts that could never be ours. These desires are most likely not rooted in the soil of God’s kingdom, but in the desolate desert of our stubborn hearts.
Who and what we are has, and will be shaped by our circumstances and heritage. I do not know enough about developmental psychology and behavioural genetics to understand the ‘nature vs. nurture’ relationship; but I do know that no two people are exactly alike. And once we embrace our uniqueness, we can employ ourselves effectively. You wouldn’t attempt to cut a steak with a ladle, would you?
One measure that I’ve found helpful is to ask friends for their thoughts on what makes me, well, me! Some responses have been affirming, and some have been alarming, to say the least. Synthesising all this information has given me a better understand of how my contributions are valued by the larger community that I interact with. After all, our lives are gifts to be enjoyed by others.
Brothers and sisters, we can either continue the Sysiphean struggle of becoming who we want to be, or we can attune ourselves to what God wants us to be. Discovering my true self will make it a whole lot easier to live with the person whom I spend the most time with. Me.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Anonymous)
Prayer: Dear Lord, I pray that your children seek to plumb the depths of their being.
Thanksgiving: I thank you Father, for making us exactly how we are supposed to be right now.