Fr. Ben’s homily for Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Theme: FRUITS FROM THE SANCTUARY!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Tuesday November 9 2021
*Ezek 47:1-12, 1 Cor 3 :9-17, Jn 2:13-22.
Today is the feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica – the biggest church in Rome. I want to discuss ecclesiastical things and I beg to bother you with reflections on all the readings since I find them all knitted together.
In the 1st reading, we see the popular imagery of water flowing from the temple, east down to Arabah and flowing into the sea. Wherever the water goes it brings health and prosperity because this water comes from the sanctuary. Their fruits will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.
In the 2nd reading, St Paul reminds us that we are God’s farm; God’s building. Each one must be careful how he does the building because every block must fit /plum with the foundation walls (which is Jesus Christ himself). Different people may build on gold, silver, wood, hay or straw. Different priests and preachers may minister according to their own level of spirituality and understanding but each person’s handiwork will be shown what it is. No matter our points of emphasis, we must remember that God’s temple (church) is holy and we are that temple.
In the gospel, Jesus confronts people selling cattle, sheep and doves in the temple. They thought they were doing necessary church things. After all, those items were items for worship. But Jesus upbraided them to stop using his father’s house as a market. He was consumed with zeal for his father’s house and this zeal was for ecclesiastical spirituality. They told him to produce the sign of his spiritual authenticity and he told them to ‘destroy this temple and in three days he will rebuild it’. He was speaking of the temple that was his body. The disciples only understood that after his resurrection.
In the church today, we see a lot of projects going on but we cannot fail to wonder where the ecclessiological emphasis are. Plenty of church building projects while pious societies are gradually dying away. Sometimes one wonders who will fill the pews of these gigantic buildings in the future going by the way things are today. We see a lot of Mission Schools being built by the church for the church yet the fees are getting more and more unaffordable to the poor Christian parents for the training of their children. We see even Mission hospitals, Pure water factories, Olive oil companies, etc. Good as these projects may be, I expect the Church to bring more health and prosperity to the society not poverty; more education and wisdom not timidity or psychological imbalance, with all the negative prophecies and anti intellectualism we see many pastors and prayerful men/women exhibit; not exploitation of the poor leading to the emergence of a church of the rich, by the rich and for the rich – another aberration as we find in the current rape of democracy all over our Country. Fruits from the sanctuary must be fruits of health, holiness and prosperity. Church leaders and Church members had better watched it! May God bless you today!