daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, November 09, 2013
Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12, Ps. 45, 1 Cor. 3:9-11, 16-17, John 2:13-22

"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 are you" (1 Cor. 3:16-17).

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Pope's cathedral. A basilica is a temple of God, where we go to pray, to be in God's presence, and offer the sacrifice of the Mass for the glory of God and the salvation of the world. A church building is a sign of the New Jerusalem, where we will live after we rise from the dead in risen bodies. It will be upon the new earth which God will create (Rev. 21:1-2, 10). We too are temples of God, and we are being transformed into an ever more worthy dwelling place of God, ever more like the New Jerusalem, God's ultimate dwelling place with man.

"You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Christ bought us with his death. His death was the price with which he bought us from our sins, guilt, and death as their punishment. By suffering our punishment for our sins for us in his death, he freed us from our sins and from eternal death as their punishment, and justified us, filling us with his own righteousness, making us resplendent before God. Thus did he make us into his temples in which he dwells upon the earth, until we rise from the dead and dwell with him in the New Jerusalem on the new earth in our risen bodies.

During the month of November, in the increasing darkness, we glimpse through the mist the New Jerusalem, like a crystal filled with light, the goal of our journey, the ultimate resting place of our spirit and risen body. We ourselves are living icons in the world of the New Jerusalem. We are lights, reflecting through the murky mist of the world the splendor of the New Jerusalem.

We now glimpse through the gloom this city of gold and light, shining with the splendor of God, "its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal" (Rev. 21:11). "The city was pure gold, clear as glass ... and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass ... And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk" (Rev. 21:18, 21, 23-24). The temple of the city is the Lord God the Almighty himself and the Lamb, therefore "I saw no temple in the city" (Rev. 21:22).

This city is the geography, the landscape, of our spirit, the place of our hope, the goal of our journey through the gloomy mist of this world, the illuminated jewel, full of light, that awaits us, and for which we live.


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