Thought for the Day – 9 November – Pope Benedict on the Feast of the Dedication of St John Lateran
In a sense, St John Lateran is the parish church of all Catholics, because it is the pope’s cathedral. This church, is the spiritual home, of the people who are the Church.
Excerpt of Pope Benedict’s
Angelus Address 9 November 2008
“The Word of God during this Solemnity recalls an essential truth – the stone temple is the symbol of the living Church, the Christian community, that the Apostles Peter and Paul had, in their Letters, already understood as a “spiritual building”, constructed by God with the “living stones” that are the Christians, upon the one foundation that is Jesus Christ, who is in turn compared to the “cornerstone” cf. 1 Cor 3: 9-11, 16-17; 1 Pt 2: 4-8; Eph 2: 20-22). “Brethren,… you are God’s building”, St Paul writes and he adds, “God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (1 Cor 3: 9c, 17).
The beauty and the harmony of churches, destined to render praise to God, invites us human beings too, though limited and sinful, to convert ourselves to form a “cosmos”, a well-ordered construction, in close communion with Jesus, who is the true Holy of Holies. This reaches its culmination in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the “ecclesia” that is, the community of baptised finds itself again united to listen to the Word of God and nourish itself on the Body and Blood of Christ. Gathered around this twofold table, the Church of living stones builds herself up in truth and in love and is moulded interiorly by the Holy Spirit, transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself ever more to her Lord Jesus Christ. She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, thus becomes a spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.
Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates an ever current mystery – that God desires to build himself a spiritual temple in the world, a community that adores Him in spirit and truth (cf. Jn 4: 23-24).
But this occasion reminds us also of the importance of the concrete buildings in which the community gathers together to celebrate God’s praises. Every communit,y therefore, has the duty to carefully guard their holy structures, which constitute a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, so that she might help us to become, like her, a “house of God”, living temple of his love.”