Ez 47.1-2,8-9,12; Ps 46; 1Co 3.9-11,16-17; Jn 2. 13-22
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Because a cathedral is a building, it isn’t greater than than those who assemble in it. Our parish church is a building; it serves as an extension of the cathedral of this diocese and is in communion with the Lateran basilica, the cathedral of cathedrals.
The word “church” signifies people as the Body of Christ before it signifies a building. We are connected with Jesus, our Messiah, Teacher and Model. No one is born Christian.
Because many of us have no memory of our baptism, we easily forget its consequences of holy living: living and witnessing God’s desires with our lives. Even those who remember being baptized are challenged daily by the world’s desires. It was always so.
The baptistry in the Lateran basilica bears an early 5th-Century inscription which reminded those, who went under its waters for the first time and ever after, what being reborn holy means:
Here is born in Spirit-soaked fertility
a brood destined for another City,
begotten by God’s blowing
and borne upon this torrent
by the Church, their virgin mother.
Reborn in these depths they reach for heaven’s realm,
the born-but-once unknown by felicity.
This spring is life that floods the world,
the wounds of Christ its awesome source.
Sinner, sink beneath this sacred surf
that swallows age and spits up youth.
Sinner, here scour sin away down to innocence,
for they know no enmity who are by
one font, one Spirit, one faith made one.
Sinner, shudder not at sin’s kind and number,
for those born here are holy.*
* perhaps composed by Pope St. Leo the Great (+461).
Wiki-image of facade of the Basilica of St. John Lateran by Ern is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 license. Wiki-image of the entrance to the Lateran Baptistry by Anthony Majanlahti is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 license.