On the Feast of the Lateran Basilica

November 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

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“With this feast, therefore, we profess, in the unity of the faith, the bond of communion that all the local Churches, spread throughout the earth, has with the Church of Rome and with its Bishop, the successor to Peter.”

VATICAN CITY, November 09, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s address before and after praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square today.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today the liturgy recalls the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the cathedral of Rome, that tradition defines as “the mother of all Churches of “Urbe et Orbe”[the City and the World]. The word “mother” refers not only to the sacred edifice of the Basilica, but to the work of the Holy Spirit that is manifested in this building, bearing fruit through the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, in all the communities that remain in unity with the Church which it presides over. This unity presents the nature of a universal family, and as there is a mother in a family, so does the venerated Cathedral of Lateran become a “mother” to the churches of all the communities of the Catholic world.

With this feast, therefore, we profess, in the unity of the faith, the bond of communion that all the local Churches, spread throughout the earth, has with the Church of Rome and with its Bishop, the successor to Peter.

Everytime we celebrate the dedication of a Church, one essential truth is recalled: the material temple made of bricks is a sign of the Church alive and active in history. Namely, it is that “spiritual temple”, as the apostle Peter says, of which Christ Himself is “the living stone, rejected by men but chosen and precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 2, 4-8). By virtue of Baptism, every Christian, as Saint Paul reminds us, is part of “God’s building” (1 Cor. 3,9). As a matter of fact, it becomes the Church of God!  The spiritual building, the Church community of men sanctified by the blood of Christ and by the Spirit of the Risen Lord, asks each one of us to be consistent with the gift of faith and to fulfill a path of Christian witness.

And it is not easy, we all know, the consistency in life between faith and witness; but we should go forward and have daily consistency in our lives. This is a Christian! Not so much for what he says, but for what he does, for the way in which he acts. This coherence, which gives us life, is a grace of the Holy Spirit that we should ask for.

The Church, in the beginning of its life and mission in the world, was nothing more than a community established to confess the faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Redeemer of mankind, a faith that works through charity. They go together!

Even today, the Church is called to be in the world a community that, rooted in Christ through Baptism, professes the faith in Him with humility and courage, while bearing witness to this in charity. Institutional elements, structures and pastoral organizations must be arranged to this fundamental purpose; to this essential aim: to give witness to faith through charity. Charity is precisely the expression of faith and faith is also the explanation and the foundation of charity!

Today’s feast invites us to reflect on the communion of all the Churches, that is of this Christian community.  By analogy it motivates us to strive so that humanity can overcome the barriers of hostility and indifference, to build bridges of understanding and dialogue, to make the whole world a family of people reconciled with each other, fraternal and harmonious.

The Church Herself is a sign and an anticipation of this new humanity, when it lives and spreads the Gospel with Her witness, a message of hope and reconciliation for all mankind. Let us invoke the intercession of the Most Blessed Mary, so that She may help us become like Her, a “house of God”, a living temple of His love.

[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]

 

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Entry filed under: Catechesis.

The Church, Where We Celebrate the Answer to the Love of God The Gifts Received and Shared

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