Friday, November 9, 2012

Feast of St. John Lateran

Today we also mark the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran, which serves as the Pope's cathedral as Bishop of Rome, celebrated by Roman Catholics throughout the world. The reason today's feast is a universal feast and not limited to the Diocese of Rome, as it was initially, is that the Cathedral of St. John Lateran is the mother Church of all Christendom. Hence, today's feast is one of unity, that is, communion with the Holy Father.

Pope Benedict on the cathedra in St. John Lateran

The second reading for this morning's Office of Readings is from a sermon by Saint Caesarius of Arles, which begins: "My fellow Christians, today is the birthday of this church, an occasion for celebration and rejoicing. We, however, ought to be the true and living temple of God...God does not dwell only structures fashioned by human hands, in homes of wood and stone, but rather he dwells principally in the soul according to his own image and fashioned by his own hand. Therefore, the apostle Paul, says: The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple."

In his homily for the Mass of Possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome, delivered on 7 May 2005, the Holy Father said, "Presiding in doctrine and presiding in love must in the end be one and the same: the whole of the Church's teaching leads ultimately to love. And the Eucharist, as the love of Jesus Christ present, is the criterion for all teaching. On love the whole law is based, and the prophets as well, the Lord says (cf. Mt 22: 40). Love is the fulfillment of the law, St Paul wrote to the Romans (cf. 13: 10)."

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