Gospel Reflection Thursday 31st Week Ordinary Time (9 November) – Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
As we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Tony Worner, Leader of Formation for St Agnes’ Catholic Parish who reads our Gospel notes that today we interrupt Luke’s Gospel by reading from the Gospel of John (2: 13-22) in which Jesus clears the Temple courts. Tony asks, so why do we celebrate the dedication of a building, albeit a basilica, as a feast in the universal Church? The Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome is the oldest and highest ranking of the four major basilicas in Rome. The others being, in order, St Peter’s, St Paul Outside the Walls and the Basilica of St Mary Major. Unknown by many, St John’s Basilica is the cathedral of the diocese of Rome and therefore is the official ecclesiastical (Church) seat of the Pope, Bishop of Rome. Not St Peter’s as so many mistakenly believe. The Basilica is also called the Church of Holy Saviour or the Church of St John Baptist. In ancient Rome this was the church where everyone was baptized. It’s the oldest church in the West, built in the time of Constantine and was consecrated (dedicated) by Pope Sylvester in 324 AD. This feast became a universal celebration in honour of the archbasilica, the ecclesial mother church, called “the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world” as a sign of love for and union with the See of Peter. Tony invites us to pray: God, may the respect and awe we have for the sacred building in which we gather for worship be reflected in the respect and reverence we have for all who make up the body of Christ. Amen. In closing, Tony leaves us with a challenge, for who don’t already know…As the Basilica of St John was the church where all were baptised – Do you know where, which Church, you were baptised in? And the date of your baptism?