NOVEMBER 9. Dedication of Lateran Basilica. Jn. 2. 13-22
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.
Today’s feast is significant because this Basilica, in Rome, has been designated the Mother Church of all the Catholic Churches throughout the world. In today’s reading Christ went into the Mother Temple of the Old Testament, but this needed to be replaced with the coming of Christ and the New Testament; - the Lateran Basilica being built in the year 324.
Christ himself, in this reading, is highlighting the importance and significance of the Temple and Church, as the place where Christians go in order to offer worship and prayer to God the Father; - a function which admits of no other in order of importance; - which he demonstrates by his actions!
“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!”
Christ uses his actions here to highlight a very important truth, namely that he is the Church; - the Mystical Body of Christ! He does this in answer to the Jews question; - “What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?”
In his answer Christ not only reveals the coming events of his Passion and Death, but he also reveals his Resurrection that will take place three days after his death; - and he goes even further saying he would raise his own body; - “Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up!”
We need to understand, and believe, what Christ is revealing here; - the doctrine of the “Mystical Body of Christ”, where he calls himself the Sanctuary, the Temple and the Church, and points out we are members of that body; -a teaching formalised by Church and Scripture:-
“Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptized, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink. Nor is the body to be identified with any one of its many parts. If the foot were to say, "I am not a hand and so I do not belong to the body," would that mean that it stopped being part of the body? If the ear were to say, "I am not an eye, and so I do not belong to the body," would that mean that it was not a part of the body? If your whole body was just one eye, how would you hear anything? If it was just one ear, how1 would you smell anything? ( Cor. 12.12)
Gospel Acclamation 2Ch7:16
I have chosen and sanctified this house, says the Lord,
that my name may remain in it for all time.
First reading Ezekiel 47:1-2,8-9,12
Wherever the water flows, it will bring life and health
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.’