Today's gospel, John 2:13-22
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me." The Jews then said to him, "What sign have you to show us for doing this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.
The Pope's cathedra in the apse. The cathedra is the seat from which a bishop preaches and teaches formally and from which we get the word 'cathedral'.
Apse of the Basilica, mosaic by Jacopo Torriti 1288-01
Today's feast, officially known as The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, can remind us of many blessings. It can remind us of the gift of faith we received in baptism. One of the patrons of the Basilica of St John in the Lateran is St John the Baptist, the baptistry there being dedicated to him. We can ask God to bless the church where we were baptised and all those who use it.
We can thank God for the church or chapel where we made our First Holy Communion and ask God to bless all those who use it. (The one where I made mine is no more, sadly).
We can thank God for the church where we were confirmed and ask God to bless all those who use it.
Those who are married can thank God for the church where they were wed and ask God to bless all those who use it.
Those of us in Holy Orders can thank God for the church or chapel where we were ordained and ask God to bless all those who use it.
We can thank God for our parish church and ask God to bless all those who use it.
We can thank God for churches from which loved ones were buried and ask God to bless all those who use them.
As the Church honours the cathedral of the Holy Father, the Archbasilica of St John in the Lateran, (St Peter's is not a cathedral), we can thank God for Pope Benedict, ask God to give him continued strength, and earnestly pray for unity among all Christians.
Rome, 7 January 2010: Spaniard Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera sings Pontifical Mass at the Lateran. Music by the Lassus Scholars from Dublin, Ireland.