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November 12, 2020

John 2:13-22 Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica

Ezekiel 43:1-2, 4-7

1 Corinthians 3:9-13, 16-17

John 2:13-22

A. Text/Context

  • In this feast of the dedication of the Lateran Church the mother temple of all the churches in the world located in the heart of Christendom in Rome
  • We also hear from the gospel of the central temple in Jerusalem the mother church of the Jews at that time which to the surprise of Jesus was desecrated and profaned by the unholy merchants
  • Not that the business of buying and selling is sinful. Business if it is in accordance with our own moral standards is not sinful
  • But where there is a large congregation of people, business and commerce thrive and there goes also the cheaters, the snatchers, the pickpockets, swindlers, and all the other unworthy elements of the underworld are also present
  • And that was the picture of the chaos in the temple because of business and that made Jesus very mad

B. Human Situation

  • During the 1980’s a similar situation happened in New York at the height of women’s liberation and gay rights activism that the very sanctuary of St. Patrick’s cathedral was pelted with condoms and other sex gadgets by the angry protesters because they believe that the Church is too conservative to jump into their cause
  • So the cathedral has to be closed because of the desecration. It was only reopened after it was rededicated and consecrated once more
  • If for example there will be bloody killings or any form of desecration in the repository of the Eucharist here in the tabernacle or any form of abominations against the sacred and the holy it is possible that this cathedral can also be closed
  • So we are reminded today that even this very simple sanctuary that we have is still the altar of God where Jesus resides in the tabernacle
  • In this feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica we must remember that it is a horrible sin to desecrate all things, objects and even persons who are holy and consecrated
  • Because God is holy, and an attack against the holy is an attack against God himself
  • We must remember this very important reminder, perhaps a lot of us do not know about this. So now you know
  • Now we go to a higher level. And while we see and touch this very physical and tangible temple this cathedral where we are now
  • We transcend to a higher plane where another temple stands, the temple of our body and soul
  • According to St. Therese of Avila in her book, the Interior Castle: the mind is the seat of knowledge, the heart is the seat of wisdom, and the soul is the very temple where God dwells
  • Her description of the soul breaks the principle of dualism as the soul is fused to the body and St. Paul said that the body is the temple of God
  • So here it is my brothers and sisters. The gospel incident reminds us to keep this body of ours, this temple of God holy. We ought to give this temple a worthy care while St. Paul in the 2nd reading reminds us that the body that we have is a temple
  • Ezekiel in the 1st reading reminds us that from the temple flows the healing water and all who were touched by it were saved. The temple is the house of the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Eucharist is a fountain of healing
  • Furthermore, St. Paul gives more clarity as to what defiles the body. It is not the one that goes in, but the one that goes out
  • Of course St. Paul does not mean all those dirty things that come out from the different orifices of the body
  • It is not the smoke from cigarettes that gives us cancer, or the alcohol from liquor that eats up the walls of our intestines, or the salts, the sugar the fats and all those toxic foods that ruin our kidneys that defile the body
  • But what defiles the body is the stench of the filthy words that come from our mouth, the vindictives, the oral defamation, and all sorts of dirty language that make our body foul and dirty
  • All forms of maledictions, foul language, vulgar speeches, character assassinations that we employ to ruin the reputation of a person are the ones that make the soul dirty
  • The tongue is very powerful as philosophy would put it: language is power
  • You see no matter how angry we are, if there is nothing ruthless and brutal that comes out from our mouths, nobody will be hurt
  • What defiles our body are the things that issue from our mouth. Why? because the origin of our bad words is the angry and furious heart

C. Challenge

  • Today we are reminded that we must not only be charitable with material things
  • We must not only be charitable with time for our brothers, our neighbors our co-employees
  • But we must also be charitable and kind in giving comments or criticisms
  • That we censure others, or we make fraternal corrections with compassion according to the norms of holy charity
  • Our tongue is just very small, but as it is so small, it is also very powerful, as it can unleash all sorts of evil
  • It can even spread a scandal that can slowly kill others because of so much shame and humiliation
  • Much, more painful than the wounds that we get from the sharp blade of a knife
  • Let us all then be charitable in the issue of words from our mouth to keep our temple holy and sacred

John 2 verse 13-22

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