Redefining the Meaning of Church

9 November 2009: Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Ezekiel 47, 1-12; Psalm 46; John 2, 13-22


During the time of Archbishop Romero, the national guards used a local church as their barracks. And when he tried to reclaim the Blessed Sacrament, the soldiers blocked him. So, he dons his stole and leads the local people in a procession back to the church.

This illustrates the feast we celebrate today. We emphasize the sacredness of the temple. In the Old Testament, the temple was a symbol of the Presence of God. However, the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70 and Josephus, the historian, said that one million people perished and 97,000 were captured.

In the Gospel today, Jesus reclaims the temple’s sacredness and announces its replacement. That the Temple of the Jerusalem, the symbol of God’s presence, will no longer be a concrete building, but would eventually be the body of Christ. The New Testament reading tells us then that we are now the body of Christ, and we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. Each one of us manifests the presence of God, and thus, each of us is indeed holy.

However, we seldom experience and see the presence of God in our lives. Why? Our lives are like business stalls in the marketplace; our pre-occupation is selling our wares and minding our own businesses.

Bishop Henri Nouwen tells us about the restlessness of our contemporary lives: First, our days are filled with things to do, people to meet, projects to finish, letters to write, calls to make, appointment to keep, prayers to recite. Second, though we are satisfied with many things at parang walang katapusan ang trabaho, we seldom feel satisfied and at peace. Ironically, we see that when we are filled, we become unfulfilled. There is never a space, a time to stand behind our own lives and reflect.

Jesus Christ tells us to drive and whip out all of our sheep and oxen, our daily businesses; to over turn our tables; to stop our work so that, the temple of our lives is reclaimed, and its sacredness becomes apparent again.

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