Sunday, November 9, 2014

Points to Ponder from the Readings for the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

1. The prophet Ezekiel sees a vision of a new Temple. The previous one had been destroyed in 587 when the Jews were carried off into exile in Babylon. This new Temple will be a source of living, flowing, life-giving water to the world.

2. This water flowing from the Temple will be so fresh and wonderful that it would actually freshen the saltwater of the sea. In other words, it is miraculous water.

3. The water flows in a river that is teaming with life both within and on its shores. The natural world will flourish with the touch of this water, and trees will grow up beside the river's banks and provide the best of food and medicine.

4. What is the miraculous water that flows from the new Temple? Ezekiel doesn't say. Perhaps he doesn't fully know. The answer would only be revealed when the Messiah hung on the cross and a stream of blood and water flowed from His side. 

Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

1. The psalmist assures us that “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress.” God is with us. We need not fear even the strongest earthquake. We are in His care.

2. The psalm also mentions a running stream that gladdens God's city.

3. God dwells in this city, and He will not forsake it. In fact, He will protect and aid His dwelling place that it may not be disturbed.

4. Where does God dwell today? What is the city gladdened by the running stream and protected by God? The psalmist could not have said, but we recognize the Church.

1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17

1. The foundation of the Church is Jesus Christ. Its building blocks are its members.

2. Paul laid the foundation of the Church at Corinth. He was the one who preached Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Others, he says, will build upon that foundation, continuing to preach the Gospel and bring new members to the Church, but they must be careful how they build, for there is only one foundation and therefore one building. There must be no schism.

3. Paul also informs each of his readers that he or she is a temple of God. When we are in a state of grace, God dwells within our souls. His Holy Spirit is active in us, and as temples of God, we are holy and set aside for God's use and service.

John 2:13-22

1. Jesus is surprisingly violent in this reading. He is tired of the abuses occurring in His Father's house, the Jerusalem Temple, and He is going to put a stop to them. He turns over tables, spills coins, and even drives humans, sheep, and oxen out of the Temple with a whip of cords. This might seem out of character for Jesus, but His zeal comes from the fact that the holy courts of the Temple are being profaned by these actions. The sellers and money-changers are not in the Temple to pray and worship but to make a profit. This is unacceptable to Jesus.

2. The Jews are shocked by Jesus' behavior, and they ask for a sign that He has the authority to act this way. His response shocks them even more: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” They question Him, not understanding or believing His words.

3. Jesus, of course, is not speaking about the physical Temple in which He is standing. He is talking about His own body, which the Jews will indeed destroy and which will be raised up in the Resurrection.

4. The disciples do not understand Jesus cryptic response any more than the Jews do. Only after the Resurrection will they realize what He means. He is the new Temple from Whom living water will flow out to the whole world. 

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