There are four major basilicas in Rome, namely, St John Lateran, St Peter, St Paul outside the Walls, and Mary Major. The one we celebrate today (St. John Lateran) is the arch basilica because it is where the throne of the Bishop of Rome is situated. The wealthy Lateran family donated a large piece of land about the fourth century. It is the church of all Catholics since it is here that the Bishop of Rome sits ex cathedra.

So why do we celebrate a building? St Paul mentions that we are God’s building. Jesus is the cornerstone of this structure and we are the living stones built upon its foundation. Just as a building needs firm foundation, Jesus is the rock on which we build our lives. St Paul states that we are temples of God, for the Spirit of God rests upon us. Just as we enter a building and reverence the presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle, so too we hold the presence of God within. My spiritual director once told me that we are “walking tabernacles” since all of us have the presence of God within us. Extraordinary.

On this feast day, let us celebrate the great dignity given us as members of Gods family, the Church. Let us pray for our local parishes, pastor and all God’s people that make up the building of our local church. God is within it cannot be shaken.

 

Do you know that you are a temple of God?

Lord, I thank you for the indwelling presence of your Holy Spirit in my life.