November 9: Feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Publish date 09-11-2020
The local Church's dedication celebration, which is celebrated on November 9, is a symbol. Jesus came to build the Kingdom of God and the building of the material church signifies the beauty of this deeper and more spiritual construction. Especially in poor communities, the faithful are happy when their church can be built. They find the land and begin construction.
Generally in Brazil a parish has thirty communities, each one builds its own church. In my diocese of Mariana, in Minas Gerais, 1500 churches have been built by the communities. People find the land, then set aside some money to buy building materials. There are those who do the drawing and so on until the inauguration of the church, a very beautiful moment, a party.
The construction allowed people to get closer. And this is even more true for the construction of the Church as the body of Christ. In this sense, Jesus is the builder of this great new Jerusalem, made of living stones. Saint Peter refers to this: Approaching him, living stone, rejected by men, but chosen and precious before God, as living stones you too are built as a spiritual building, for a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God, through Jesus Christ (1Pt 2,4-5).
The joy of building the material church is the same as that of being living stones, living stones of the magnificent construction that the Lord makes in the reconciliation of humanity with God. The joy that penetrates our hearts is not the joy of a church. finished, finished, inaugurated, but it belongs to a Church made of living stones, a Church that is always under construction because there are always new stones.
We must ask ourselves what the joy of being living stones of a Church that is built day after day means for us. I think that three elements can help to have this experience of the joy of a living Church under construction.
The first is trust in the Father, trust that Jesus gave birth to in our hearts. The living Church is a Church that thrives on this trust in the Lord.
The second element is a Church that creates a relationship of fraternity. Living stones are not only the foundations of a building, but they enter into a relationship, they stay together, they open the heart to others. A living fraternity, open to sharing. Sharing is the expression of a lived fraternity that gives great joy. Knowing how to share and knowing how to open the heart ensures that there is a true fraternity in the exchange of goods and all the spiritual wealth of each one.
The third element is the practice of forgiveness. Mutual forgiveness gives the joy of the father in the parable (Lk 15:11 ff), who celebrates because his son has returned.
“Who is Jesus? Who is this? ": It is certainly the Son of God that we wish to be able to see and meet, but he is above all the great builder of God's work, of the reconciliation of humanity. The fact that we too are called to be living stones, builders with these stones of the temple of God, makes us think that we - as persons and as a community - become the temple of God, capable of showing Jesus to others.
Dom Luciano Mendes de Almeida