The reflection below is my homily on this Sunday by Fr. Dominic Yamoah at Sts. Clare’s Clarinda, Sacred Heart, Bedford, and St. Joseph at Villisca. It is a product of my readings online and personal reflection. I am sharing them because they touched my life, and that of my Parishioners and I believe they will influence your life too. May God bless you
Today we celebrate the dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome. Historically, the Basilica of St John Lateran is the oldest Church of Rome and the highest-ranking church in the world, followed by St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. As such, it is the Head and mother Church of all Churches. When we celebrate its dedication to God, therefore, we celebrate the mystery of God’s special presence and indwelling in buildings set apart for divine worship, including our own Parish Church.
This feast is to remind us of the importance of the Church building as sacred space set apart for personal and collective encounter with God. We know that God is everywhere. Yet when the people of God erect a building and dedicate it totally to God’s service, God’s glory comes to dwell in that building in such a way that the building becomes the house of God. Solomon recalls this mystery in his prayer of dedication of the temple in Jerusalem: “Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!” (1Kings 8:27). Therefore, while we celebrate God’s special indwelling in a temple, we must remind ourselves that even though God’s presence is not in the temple alone, everywhere. However, God manifests His glory in a special way in some persons, places, and things. A temple or Church is one such place.
In our first reading, today we heard Ezekiel’s vision of a river flowing from the Temple in Jerusalem and bringing life everywhere it went (Ezek. 47). We could see it as a vision of the people of God receiving life-giving grace from God through the church or temple. Those who receive this life giving grace are duty bound to share their abundant blessings with all those whom they encounter outside the church.
The gospel reading enjoins us to respect this special temple of the Lord. Jesus’ cleansing of the temple gives us the mandate that we are supposed to keep this temple of God clean from profanation in order to continue to make it a special place of prayer. We need to avoid any acts that disrupts our prayer life here. For instance, we should avoid- littering our chapel here with papers and gum, too much talking during celebrations and dressing inappropriately for church services. In addition to that,we need to respond to the church’s call to serve in various capacities to keep the church’s ministries running.
St. Paul in our second reading brings home the point that our bodies are temples of God, for the Holy Spirit dwells in us. We are therefore an urgent call to keep the temples of our bodies clean so that we do not incur the displeasure of the owner of this body that is God.
It is common to hear people say, this is my body; I do what I want with it. Well for Paul, our bodies are not ours but God’s. Fr. Dominic Yamoah’s body is not his own to do whatever he pleases with it. We need to avoid anything that dishonors this body: acts of abortion, social vices, abusive languages and all other acts that dishonor this temple of God. If these negative acts have been part of our lives, we need to ask for God’s grace to turn a new leave. We rather need to incorporate into our bodies those acts of love and kindness that the Spirit of God inspires in us.
Today, dear people of God, on this feast of the dedication of the temple, let us renew the dedication of our church here and our bodies as God’s temple. This week, Fr. Dominic Yamoahresolves to make God proud as I offer all that I have in His service. May you also do same. Happy weekend to you!!!
Keep Fr. Dominic Yamoah and His new Ministry in your Prayers.