Bread in the Wilderness
Father Carl Diederichs
All Saints Catholic Church

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The Church celebrates the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica this weekend. People may wonder why the entire church throughout the world would celebrate this Feast. The primary reason is that it is the Mother Church for the entire world. It is where the Bishop of Rome, the pope lived and where the Archdiocese of Rome is centered. I have been there and there is an aura about it that makes one feel like they have come home. The readings, then have been chosen to make us more aware of the church, both as a physical structure and, more importantly, how we are ourselves the church made of living stones with Christ as the cornerstone.

The first reading is from Ezekiel 47: 1-2, 8-9, 12. The image is one of water rushing from all sides of the temple and running down into the Dead Sea and bringing it back to life again. And fruit trees will grow along its shore. For us, the symbol of baptism comes immediately to mind. For each of us the living waters flowed from the font and turned us into new people.

Paul, in Corinthians 3: 9c-11, 16-17, reminds us that we are God’s temple, each one of us. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” And that temple, that we are, is holy. Again, the waters of baptism have made us a temple of God. So, respect the temple that is you, take care of it spiritually through prayer and worship and physically through a good healthy lifestyle.

The Gospel is from John 2: 13-22. In the second chapter of John Jesus is speaking about his body being a temple. And this temple, even if it is destroyed will be rebuilt in three days. Only after his resurrection did the disciples understand what he meant when he spoke to the Jews in the temple area, that he was speaking about his own body being the temple.

For us, our baptism is the primordial sacrament. It is what binds us to one another and empowers us to live a life in conformity with that of Jesus. And when each of us, a temple of God, comes together for worship, that presence is even more palpable.

We are ministers, priests of the church. Each one of us was anointed a priest, prophet and a servant leader at baptism. And that imprint upon us can never be erased. Yes, often we do not act as if we are anointed for the Lord. But it is still there until the day we die. Our challenge is to make that temple which is our body a true house of the living God.

All our thoughts and actions should proceed from the rich grace of God’s presence in us. We should exude a holiness that attracts anyone who comes in contact with us. That is how we evangelize, not by words but by actions.

And that power to influence others and draw the best out of others is best seen when we gather together as the Body of Christ around the Welcome Table. Each of us comes already anointed and then the power of each of us, who are ministers to each other, is actualized. The unbelievable power of God wells up in us and we bless each other. That is why it is not a small thing for us to skip Mass and think we won’t be missed. Our Spirit will be missed and the church will be missing a blessing that only you can bring. Think about it.

Faithfully,

Fr. Carl Diederichs