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The Pope's Church

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

My dear encountered couples:

Today we celebrate the anniversary of the Cathedral Church of the pope in Rome. No, it is not St. Peter’s. It is the church of St. John Lateran, built way back in the fourth century by the Emperor Constantine, the emperor who gave freedom of religion to all his people. Why celebrate the anniversary of a building as if it were a living thing? Because it not only is the Mother Church of all Christendom, it represents a living Person, it represents Jesus Christ.

The real Church is not a building, but it is the living body of Christ in which Jesus still lives on earth bringing salvation to all people who will accept it. We, the members of the Church, are the parts of this living body of Christ. We make up his body, form his body, are the bricks of his body. It is through us, the cells of his body that he brings his salvation to others. Through your actions and mine, through all who are united in Christ to form the Church, Jesus extends his love to the people we meet.

That is important for us to remember. For when we treat others well we are allowing Jesus Christ to touch them; when we treat them unwell, maybe cruelly, or use them selfishly, we are keeping Christ from touching them through us with his love. We very probably are driving them away from him.

St. Peter said of us: “You are living stones, built as an edifice of spirit, into a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ... You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God claims for his own to proclaim the glorious works of Jesus who called you from darkness into his marvelous light.”

You and I are very important; we have a divine purpose to fulfill. Let us do it well.

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