Saint/Feast of the Day — Dedication of Saint John Lateran
St. John Lateran: Symbol of church’s coexistence with secular power
The Rite of [a Catholic Church] Dedication Now
Catholic Word of the Day: ST. JOHN LATERAN, 05-26-09
Solemn Mass in the Usus Antiquior (TLM) at the Lateran [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Pontiff Reflects on the Last Supper During Mass at St. John Lateran
THE DEDICATION OF THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR – ST JOHN LATERAN)
[Bishop of Rome — Pope Benedict XVI]to be installed at St. John Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral
75th Anniversary of the Lateran Pacts
Liturgical Color: White
Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the
Lateran Basilica in Rome. This basilica is the
oldest of the 4 major basilicas of Rome. It
became the Cathedral of Rome around 311 A.D.
Ordinary Time: November 9th
Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica
Old Calendar: Dedication of the Archbasilica of Our Holy Savior; St. Theodore, martyr ; Other Titles: Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica; Dedication of St. John Lateran
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, the oldest and highest ranking of the four major basilicas in Rome. The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, the official ecclesiastical seat of the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, not St. Peter’s Basilica as so many mistakenly believe. The Basilica is also called the Church of Holy Savior or the Church of St. John Baptist. In ancient Rome this was the church where everyone was baptized. It the oldest church in the West, built in the time of Constantine and was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324. This feast became a universal celebration in honor of the archbasilica, the ecclesiastical mother church, called “the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world” (omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput), as a sign of love for and union with the See of Peter.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the commemoration of St. Theodore, a Christian soldier and martyr of Asia Minor.
The Temple of Stones is a Symbol of the Living Church
Today the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granted Christians freedom to practice their religion.
The emperor himself gave Pope Miltiades the ancient palace of the Laterani family, and the basilica, the baptistery, and the patriarchate, that is, the Bishop of Rome’s residence — where the Popes lived until the Avignon period — were all built there. The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Savior; only after the 6th century were the names of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist added, and now is typically denominated by these latter.
Initially the observance of this feast was confined to the city of Rome; then, beginning in 1565, it was extended to all the Churches of the Roman rite. The honoring of this sacred edifice was a way of expressing love and veneration for the Roman Church, which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch says, “presides in charity” over the whole Catholic communion (Letter to the Romans, 1:1).
On this solemnity the Word of God recalls an essential truth: the temple of stones is a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community, which in their letters the Apostles Peter and Paul already understood as a “spiritual edifice,” built by God with “living stones,” namely, Christians themselves, upon the one foundation of Jesus Christ, who is called the “cornerstone” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; 1 Peter 2:4-8; Ephesians 2:20-22). “Brothers, you are God’s building,” St. Paul wrote, and added: “holy is God’s temple, which you are” (1 Corinthians 3:9c, 17).
The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human beings, limited and sinful, to convert to form a “cosmos,” a well-ordered structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints. This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the “ecclesia,” that is, the community of the baptized, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. From these two tables the Church of living stones is built up in truth and charity and is internally formed by the Holy Spirit transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, in this way becomes the spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.
Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24). But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God. Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.
— Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, November 9, 2008
Things to Do:
- Learn more about St. John Lateran;
- This basilica represents the place of baptism, so it would be a good time to renew your baptismal promises;
- It also represents heaven, so we can meditate on the joys of heaven and God’s generosity in giving us sufficient graces to be saved;
- Since St. John Lateran is the Pope’s church, say a prayer for our Holy Father;
- From the Catholic Culture Library: Mother Church of the World.
St. Theodore was a Christian soldier who set on fire the temple of the mother-goddess Cybele at Amasea (303 A.D.). The prefect of the legion promised mercy if he repented his act and renounced the Christian faith. Theodore persevered bravely; accordingly he was cast into prison and his flesh ripped by iron hooks so that his ribs were exposed. In the midst of indescribable torture he sang joyfully, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will ever be in my mouth” (Ps. 33).
Praying and singing the glories of Christ, he was burned alive on November 9. A panegyric by St. Gregory of Nyssa on his virtues is extant. Theodore’s head has been venerated at Cajeta since the Middle Ages. In ancient times, particularly among the Greeks, this soldier-martyr was honored as patron of armies. During the seventh century a church was dedicated to him in Rome, and his picture appears upon the apse mosaic in the church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian.
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Symbols: Post and iron hooks; white horse; temple of Cybele in flames; crown of thorns; cross; Roman armour; sword.
Things to Do:
- Well might we marvel at the heroic courage St. Theodore showed in the midst of pain. While suffering horribly he sang songs of praise! And we are so frightened by the smallest ache and become uncomfortable at the very mention of suffering! God does not ask such suffering from us as He did from Theodore, yet He asks that we accept some troubles patiently. If we have any discomfort today, let us offer it up without complaint;
- Also, remember our soldiers and say a prayer for them;
- Read what St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote about St. Theodore.
Meditation: 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (Feast)
You are God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
We don’t typically think of ourselves as a building. But use your imagination. If you could choose to be any kind of building, what would you be? Maybe you’d want to be a simple quaint cottage in the woods. Or perhaps you see yourself as a sleek high-rise condominium in the heart of a vibrant city.
Whatever kind of structure you might prefer to be, consider what gives any building its real value. It’s not the exterior, however beautiful or grand, that makes a house a home. It’s the people who occupy it. It’s the people, the “living stones” who dwell there, that make a building a place of warmth, light, and peace.
Today we celebrate the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, the official seat of the Holy Father. The basilica’s stunning architecture, inlaid marble, colorful mosaics, and finely carved statues attract visitors from around the world. But it’s not the building’s beauty and majesty we celebrate today. It’s the “living stones” that have filled it over the centuries. It’s the faithful members of the Church whose hearts and minds are filled with Jesus and his Spirit.
Whatever kind of building you imagine yourself to be, it’s unlikely you would describe yourself as that beautiful basilica. Few of us would be so bold as to compare ourselves to such a magnificent building! But Paul reminds us that it’s not our exterior that matters. It’s what is inside of us. Through our baptism, God lives in us. We radiate the presence of his only beloved Son. Our heavenly Father sees many different facets of his beauty and his glory in us. And that makes you just as beautiful as the most grandly constructed cathedral.
Today, no matter what kind of building you think you are, let God show you who you really are. You are the space where he comes and abides. The glory of the Lord shines through every window of your heart. Because you are his building, he depends on you. You are that warm and inviting place where other people can encounter Jesus.
“Jesus, I want to be your building. Help me to reach those who most need you.”
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
November 9, 2018 – The Indestructible Temple
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica Father Steven Reilly, LC
John 2: 13-22
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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me, and I hope in your boundless mercy and love. Thank you for watching over me and keeping me in your friendship. Thank you for the precious gift of our Mother, the Church.
Petition: Lord, increase my zeal!
- The Indestructible Temple: Today we celebrate the dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica, known as the “mother and head of all the churches.” Going to Rome and visiting this wonderful church, now some seventeen centuries old, one gets a sense of the durability of Catholicism. The Catholic Church has been around for a long time, and it will be around for a lot longer — until judgment day, to be exact. No matter how hard the world has tried, it hasn’t been able to destroy the temple of the Church. This should give us a deep confidence that the Lord is with us as we journey through history.
- Purification: Being indestructible doesn’t mean, however, that the Catholic Church does not need constant purification. When our Lord came to the temple in Jerusalem, he found many things that marred the spirit of prayer and devotion that was to characterize that sacred building. His vigorous reaction serves to underline the high vocation of holiness that God had given to the Chosen People. We Catholics have inherited that call; yet all too often, the ways of the world creep into our souls. Each one of us needs to submit to the Lord’s purification. He will challenge us in our conscience, and sometimes that will sting like the whip of cords. But if we are sincere in our desires, we accept this with humility, aware that our souls must be living temples of God’s presence.
- Consuming Zeal: When the apostles contemplated our Lord’s action in the temple, “zeal” was the word that summed it all up. Jesus is zealous because he doesn’t accept the status quo of entrenched mediocrity. The day he arrives it is no longer business as usual: His Father’s house WILL be respected. Too often we let the barnacles of laziness and the accretions of apathy weigh down and extinguish our zeal. Every day we must pray that the Lord will once again “enkindle in our hearts the fire of his love.” Our zeal in living the faith is part of the way God works to make this temple of his Church indestructible. Don’t we want to cooperate with his love, so that the “gates of hell will not prevail?”
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I love your Church. I thank you for the priceless gift of my Catholic faith. Protect the Church from all her enemies and help me to be an effective apostle filled with authentic zeal.
Resolution: I will offer myself to collaborate in a parish ministry or other Catholic apostolate out of love for the Church.
November 9, 2018
In the leansing and purification of the Temple, Jesus drew attention to himself as the new Temple. The presence of God was no longer signified in a man-made Temple but now realized in his Person. Then the Father’s goodness, righteousness and justice would be most visible, like in the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem.
The lesson we draw from the Gospel reading is how we too are called to purification and perfection, starting from our individual selves to our collective selves as a people. We begin our cleansing with the symbols that shape our individual identities: the personal values we hold, the truth we profess, our personal views of the world. We ask ourselves whether our living out of these symbols and values reflects the laws of God, expresses righteousness, radiates goodness and renders truth and justice. We also ask ourselves if we are able to make the necessary sacrifices of humility by allowing ourselves to be corrected to give way to what is right and good and to bring our personal interests in harmony with the greater common good.
On the societal level we ask ourselves if we are actively vigilant in protecting our collective symbols and values as a people from being perverted by selfish and ill-willed individuals or groups in our society. We make a collective examination of conscience if we have not instead contributed to the decay and fading away of the symbols of our collective identity by allowing ourselves to be used because we stand to benefit from the lies, deceptions and manipulations of many. What are these collective symbols we should protect and preserve as a people? These are the laws of our country, our social and political structures, our culture and common ethics, our social and religious celebrations.
Why this purification and cleansing? Because we are temples of the Holy Spirit in the world. We are in the presence of God in the world. We are indeed God’s presence in the world. In us God carries out his continuing mission of liberating and saving the world.
One Bread, One Body
Language: English | Espanol