This Feast Day of St. John Lateran is an odd one, in the sense that it is not a person we are honouring here but a building. The dedication of the cathedral of Rome is being remembered this day. This is the church of the bishop of Rome–not St. Peter’s as many would believe. I did not find time to visit it this summer which is yet another reason to return to Rome.
The readings today are about buildings–Ezekiel speaks of the temple, Paul writes about the temple of our bodies, and the Gospel has John writing about the destruction of the temple. The Psalmist sings of streams that make glad the city of God–cities are made up of buildings. Even though the readings may speak of holy buildings it is really the fact that Jesus is the temple and we in his likeness are also holy temples that is noteworthy here. Jesus is angry today when he enters the sacred space to worship and finds it desecrated. He must also get frustrated with us as he watches us put all sorts of unhealthy items in our bodies. Paul states that God’s temple is holy and we are that temple. Do we treat our bodies as holy? How many unhealthy things have you stuffed into your body and mind today? Have you filled your spirit with whatever is noble, kind and beautiful or have you zoned out and feed it garbage today?
We build structures in this world, such as the Berlin Wall, that are not meant to last. This is the 25th anniversary of the day that wall came tumbling down. What is it in your life that is not meant to last? What is it that divides you from something it should not? Where will you take a stand and say no longer is this structure serving a healthy purpose in my life? What needs to change?
I think we can cram many toxic things into ourselves, destroying the life within in subtle ways. It could be the numerous chocolates that I have devoured today (darn Lindt sale!) or it might be sitting in front of the television when I could have been reading about the lives of the saints. How much time did you spend on social media this day instead of connecting with someone in person who might have needed your presence? On the other hand perhaps you have starved yourself today, controlled by media that tells you that you are not thin enough, pretty enough, sexy enough. Whatever it is that dishonours your temple, can you stop doing it? I am as guilty as the next but this day reminds me that we are asked to choose life, here and now. To treat our bodies and minds as a sacred space is a duty. We are given this shell for a higher purpose–to serve and to love others, to honour and to praise our Creator.
What will you choose this day for the building that houses your soul?