CYCLE I: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Respect the House of God, Respect God’s Temple; Your Body
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“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. *John 2:21-22*_
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica which is one of the great churches in Rome. Our celebration today affords us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of “Dedication” and its impact on our relationship with God.
To say a building or any object at all is dedicated to God is to say such can never be used for any other purpose other than for God. This is because, by the act of dedication, the presence of God has been invoked upon such. Hence, to use a dedicated building for any purpose other than the things of God is to insult God.
A dedicated Church building is not an ordinary building, it is one that houses God physically, a place to meet God, a place to pray, a place of security and peace from the troubles of the world. Walking into a dedicated Church is truly a privilege; it is like stepping into heaven. There is no prayer uttered there that will not be heard or responded to.
As Ezekiel describes in our first reading using figurative language, the house of God contains a river. “Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can MULTIPLY shall LIVE, and there shall be ABUNDANT FISH, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made FRESH. Along both banks of the river, FRUIT trees of every kind shall GROW; their leaves shall NOT FADE, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear FRESH fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for FOOD, and their leaves for MEDICINE.” Always bear this imagery in mind whenever you step into a church.
The saying is true that failure to respect the place where I live is a failure to respect me. In the same way, failure to respect the house of God is a failure to respect God. How do we show disrespect for the House of God?
1. Turning the House of God into a Profit Making enterprise. Jesus said: “you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Today, many think of the Church not as a place to meet God but as a readily available market. God is no longer at the centre of our worship, rather our desire for riches propels our worship. There is always something to be sold in the church and all kinds of strategies are deployed not only to gather as many members as possible but to ensure they give heavily.
2. Using our bodies without reference to God. Another way disrespect God’s house is forgetting that our very bodies are the temples of God. As we celebrate the dedication of a building, let us never forget that our bodies are living Temples where God dwells. This is what St. Paul teaches us in today’s second reading.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my respect for your temple. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Feast of the Dedication of Lateran Basilica. Bible Study: Ezekiel 47:1-12, Psalm 46:2-9, 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17, John 2:13-22).
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