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Tuesday, November 9, 2004

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Dedication of St. John Lateran

2 Chronicles 5:6-10, 13—6:2
1 Corinthians 3:9-13, 16-17
Psalm 84
Luke 19:1-10

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the family of families

"Everyone, however, must be careful how he builds. No one can lay a foundation other than the one that has been laid, namely Jesus Christ." —1 Corinthians 3:10-11

Today we celebrate the liberation of the Church in the early fourth century. After Constantine was converted to Christianity, he changed from persecuting the Church to providing for the construction of the first Christian church buildings. For the first three-hundred years of Christianity, all churches met in homes. Then, with the end of persecution against the Church, it became possible to build a structure large enough to contain a community of several home communities. This church was named after St. John the Baptizer and was situated on the Lateran property. This was a big step forward in promoting the unity of the Church.

Therefore, today's feast is a celebration of liberation based on conversion leading to unity among the Christian communities. Today's feast teaches us that:

  1. Liberation is based not on independence and isolation but Christian community.
  2. There is no liberation without conversion.
  3. The basic unit of the Church is the small, home-based community.
  4. These basic communities need to be united with each other.
  5. The Spirit makes us one by calling us to obey authority, especially the authority of the Pope.

What happened in the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s is something like what happened to the Church in the early 300s. This liberation continues to be a cause for joy. Celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of St. John Lateran.

Prayer:  Father, may those who have given their lives to Jesus be "of one heart and one mind" (Acts 4:32).

Promise:  "Today salvation has come to this house." —Lk 19:9

Praise:  Alleluia! Jesus is the Cornerstone! Alleluia!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 30, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 1, 2004