The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (Feast)

 

God is our refuge and our strength.

 

Although the Lateran Basilica is located in Rome, today’s feast is a celebration for the whole Church.   Long considered the mother church for Catholics throughout the world, the basilica has a tumultuous history.   Built sometime between 311–314, it was plundered in 455 and destroyed by an earthquake in 896.   It was rebuilt but then burned down twice.   Even so, its fourth-century mosaics remain intact.

Like this marvelous structure, the Church has gone through its own “fires” and “earthquakes”: disagreements from within and attacks from without.   But despite all of these challenges, the Church continues to stand.

For example, in its earliest days, the Church could have been torn apart over the question of whether Gentile Christians should be circumcised.   But in AD 50, Church leaders met in Jerusalem and decided that since God had “made no distinction” when he poured out the Holy Spirit, neither should they (Acts 15:9).

In medieval times, the Church suffered greatly from an overemphasis on power, titles, and politics.   But God sparked a reform when he told St. Francis of Assisi, “Go and repair my house, which as you see, is falling into ruin.”   Francis “repaired” the Church by founding an order that focused on the core gospel message and on serving the poor.

God’s care and protection continue today.   A little more than fifty years ago, Pope St. John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council.   The result?   Among other things, the Church made clear that everyone, including laypeople, is equal in dignity and can serve the Church and strive for holiness.

So if you’re worried about the current state of the Church, put your faith in God.   He has never forsaken her, and he never will!   That doesn’t mean that the Church is exempt from problems and challenges.   But God can use them to purify it, bring it healing, and make it even more beautiful.   He is our “refuge and our strength” (Psalm 46:2). He will remain with his Church—and with us—always.

“Jesus, thank you for your care for the Church.   I trust in you.”

Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
John 2:13-22

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