One of today's readings reminded me of an upcoming feast, which I want to emphasize. Here is the entire chapter of today's first reading. One body, one building, one Church and we are all part of that Church, not mere by-standers watching things happen around us, supposedly out of our control.
First, the section which included today's epistle selection:
The NO Mass in the church I attend during the week is celebrating on November 9th, The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which I am anticipating early for several reasons.
The readings including the Collect which refers to us as living stones. who have been chosen by God, to build up the Church of Christ.
Now, for a stone to be a strong part of a building, this stone must be "true", without cracks, sturdy, reliable in the hands of the builder.
A stone just "is". A stone, and I am living in a country for a while which uses stone for every building, does not need to decide whether it will be used. The quarry man cuts it out of the earth and the builder buys it, choosing the best and most appropriate for the building he has in mind.
Many stones make a building. New buildings rise up daily here and old ones are rebuilt. On my way home daily from Mass, I pass two houses being re-built and the stones masons work diligently to finish before the rainy season begins.
Surrounded by building, I think that few Catholics really, truly take their role as living chosen stones seriously.
Some, in fact, allow themselves to become useless, so cracked as to be tossed away.
I see fragments in the street here, from stones which will be carried away to be used for landfill or streets, but not a building.
If the building is strong, it is because each stone is strong.
The lay persons are the stones.
In the reading from Ezechiel, the prophet has a vision of water flowing from the right side of the temple. Of course, we immediately and should think of Christ's wound on the Cross, when His Body was pierced, blood and water flowing out as signs of life for us, signs of baptism.
Fish and living creatures live in this stream in the prophet's vision. Christ feeds His Church with His Body and Blood. But, the locus of the stream is the Temple, a sign of the Church.
Again, if the Temple is fertile, so are others, being fed from the Church.
The water, states Ezechiel, comes from the sanctuary. But, that is part of the Temple of the living stones.
In the New Testament reading, St. Paul, in whose footsteps I walk daily, if not spiritually, physically, calls himself an "architect". St. Paul writes that each one of us is part of the Temple, and living in the Holy Spirit. He refers to those who would destroy this temple, and that God will destroy whoever tries to destroy His Church.
Are we cooperating with the apostle's heirs in letting ourselves be made holy? Do we aid in destroying the temple through gossip, passing on scandal, antagonism, even hatred, and especially, pride?
In the Gospel, we see Christ cleansing the Temple of the businessmen and money-changers who infiltrted His Holy Place.
Of course, the Sanhedrin was making a profit from this business. So Christ's overturning the stalls and tables is not merely an attack on those individuals running those booths, but on the establishment which had become corrupted by greed and the seeking of power and status.
Sounds like this past week in Rome, wherein personal egos got in the way of God's Holy Temple worship.
I address the living stones. Be holy. The Church needs holy saints. Christ will come and cleanse the Temple, His Church.
Will you be part of the remnant or not? Do not complain if the Church seems weak. Make it strong.
You cannot make perfect something if you are not perfected. To be continued...
Ezechiel 47; 1-2; 8-9; 12
1 Corinthians 3:9-11; 16-17