Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Today is the feast of the archbasilica of the most holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist Lateran.  It is an ancient basilica, originally consecrated in 324 A.D., but destroyed and rebuilt many times.  As cathedral of the diocese of Rome, this basilica is governed by the Pope, and the Popes have been entrusting it to the care of an Archpriest since about 1299.  One of these archpriests is of special note to anyone who is interested in Ignatian spirituality, viz.,  Alessandro Cardinal Farnese, who held the post from 1508-1534.  This man then reigned as Pope Paul III from 1534 to 1549.  In his time as Pope, Paul III was very supportive of St. Ignatius and of his companions.  Were it not for him, it’s unlikely that there would be much interest in Ignatian spirituality today.

The gospel for today’s feast describes the cleansing of the temple.  When our Lord cleansed the Jewish temple, he foreshadowed the downfall of Jewish temple cult.  Soon after Him, the temple was destroyed, and, to this day, no Jewish sacrifices are offered according to Old Testament laws.  1500 years later, Pope Paul III and St. Ignatius Loyola tried to cleanse the Church of its corruption, but, this time, they wanted to prevent its collapse.  They were somewhat successful, and so, today, many of us still worship in the same Church and use the same sacraments and sacramentals as they did.  Nations may come and go, but our Church will remain.  Jesus promised as much, saying “upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

November 9th, 2016