WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD (1Cor 3:16)
⏰Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
????Ezek 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9 (R.v.5); 1Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22
????WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD (1Cor 3:16)
The Lateran Basilica is the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and is considered as the Mother of all churches. The church was built around the time Emperor Constantine gave religious freedom to all within his empire.
That religious freedom could be likened to the victory which Judas Maccabeus and his brothers gained over the Graeco-Syrian oppression of the Jews that led to the desecration of the temple. The temple was rebuilt and rededicated in 165 BC. The anniversary of this was marked annually by the Jews (cf. 1 Macc 4:59) and Jesus attended that celebration during his time (cf. John 10:22-23). However, this celebration is more than mere celebration of a structure. At least the readings of today tell us that much.
The prophecy of Ezekiel in the First Reading was made to the people of Israel in exile after the heart breaking destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. This temple was like the focal point of their identity; it was their pride. So its destruction shattered them. But the prophet, in about 573 BC, prophesied of a future and better temple (cf. Ezek 40:1ff).
The part of the prophecy that we take today is a continuous description of the beautiful things that would accompany the new temple. Here, the water that flowed from the temple gives life to anything it touches whenever it flowed (Ezek 49:1-12).
That reminds me of the side of Jesus, from where flowed blood and water (John 19:34). Blood here expresses the salvific power of Jesus’ death while water stands for new life that is born from that precious side. Remember that he is the source of the living water (John 7:37-38).
He demonstrates in the Gospel that the new temple is his body (John 2:19-21). Just as the water from the temple gives life to all that it touches and gives Joy to all who dwell in the city of God (Ps 46:5), so Jesus, the living water went about doing good (Matt 10:35; Acts 10:38).
As Christians, we are part of the body of Christ. St Paul used an analogy of that body to talk of our collective membership of the new community of God’s people, the Church and how we ought to maintain a united body (1 Cor 13:1-31).
Earlier on, he already reminded us that our body is the temple of God as we saw in the Second Reading. The implication of that for us therefore is that, as the new temple, our lifestyle must be able to bear life-giving fruits among the people and in everywhere we go.
On the other hand, the awareness of our body being the house of God should remind us of the importance of keeping it clean as Jesus expected the Jerusalem temple to be (cf. John 2:13-22). Let us purge ourselves of all things (sins) that make the temple of God in us a market place.
May the living water that flows from the heart of God cleanse us and keep us so until the coming of Jesus Christ. And may that water make all that you lay your hands on, today and beyond, to thrive with abundance. Amen.
Have a great and fulfilling day ahead. Peace be with you.