Theme: Where is the real temple where God is to be found and worshipped? This feast of the mother-church of Latin Christendom provides an occasion for us to appreciate what the church is really for, in our lives. "You are God's building" - the real sanctuary of God is in the hearts of his people.
Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.
He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. People will stand fishing beside the sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim; it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.
On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing."
For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"
His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me." The Jews then said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
Today we recall the Basilica Saint John of Lateran, the Pope's own church, the Cathedral of Rome. The Lateran was (and still is) the Cathedral Rome, and goes back long before Saint Peter's was built. It is where the papal household was based for centuries before moving to the Quirinal, and later across the Tiber to where Vatican City now stands. The gospel about the purification of the temple of Jerusalem is apt for today's feast. The Jerusalem temple serves as a symbol of the Church of today, in the twenty-first century. It conveys both the idea of the temple's sacredness, and also the need for constant purification of the structures of our Church.
"In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
Today it is not in our churches that trade, business, and commerce of all kind are conducted; but plenty of commerce goes on nowadays, on Sundays. Our materialist concentration on buying things plus our emphasis on weekend leisure makes many people forget to go to church. Even some who are occasional believers in Christ will often find themselves too caught up in other business to join in Sunday Mass. "Zeal for your house will consume me." Can we find again the wellsprings that Jesus referred to when he said "Zeal for your house consumes me"? How can our church rekindle people's enthusiasm for drawing near to God in worship? May the desire to see the house of God full of joyful praise be often in our hearts! May this church where we are gathered be the place of prayer, and not one of trade! May the universal Church which unites all believers be a community of humble worship, led by pastors deeply imbued with the spirit of Christ.
W will surely remember in our prayer today the millions from many nations who have died in various wars around our world, and who are still dying in the ongoing struggle in Syria. While today is marked as Remembrance Sunday for the fallen soldiers of World War I, it's surely a day to reflect more broadly on the senseless folly of wars of aggression, and the desire to dominate over others by superior fire-power and force of arms. How wrong it seems to claim that God is with us when we set out for war! Lord Jesus Christ, prince of peace, please put a more peaceful spirit into our hearts.