Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Major Papal and Roman Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran, Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 2 : 13-22

At that time, as the Passover of the Jews was at hand, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple court He found merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, and money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the Temple court, together with the oxen and sheep.

He knocked over the tables of the money-changers, scattering the coins, and ordered the people selling doves, “Take all this away, and stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture : ‘Zeal for Your House devours Me like fire.’

The Jews then questioned Jesus, “Where are the miraculous signs which give You the right to do this?” And Jesus said, “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then replied, “The building of this Temple has already taken forty-six years, and will You raise it up in three days?”

Actually Jesus was referring to the Temple of His Body. Only when He had risen from the dead did His disciples remember these words; then they believed both the Scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Major Papal and Roman Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran, Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 45 : 2-3, 5-6, 8-9

God is our strength and protection, an ever-present help in affliction. We will not fear, therefore, though the earth be shaken and the mountains plunge into the seas.

There is a river whose streams bring joy to the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within, the city cannot quake, for God’s help is upon it at the break of day.

For with us is the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob, our refuge. Come, see the works of the Lord – the marvellous things He has done in the world.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Major Papal and Roman Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran, Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Ezekiel 47 : 1-2, 8-9, 12

The Man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple and I saw water coming out from the threshold of the Temple and flowing eastwards. The Temple faced the east and the water flowed from the south side of the Temple, from the south side of the Altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing the east and there I saw the stream coming from the south side.

He said to me, “This water goes to the east, down to the Arabah, and when it flows into the sea of foul-smelling water, the water will become wholesome. Wherever the river flows, swarms of creatures will live in it; fish will be plentiful and the sea water will become fresh. Wherever it flows, life will abound.

Near the river on both banks there will be all kinds of fruit trees with foliage that will not wither and fruit that will never fail; each month they will bear a fresh crop because the water comes from the Temple. The fruit will be good to eat and the leaves will be used for healing.

Alternative reading
1 Corinthians 3 : 9c-11, 16-17

But you are God’s field and building. I, as a good architect, according to the capacity given to me, I laid the foundation, and another is to build upon it. Each one must be careful how to build upon it. No one can lay a foundation other than the One which is already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are God’s Temple, and that God’s Spirit abides within you? If anyone destroys the Temple of God, God will destroy him. God’s Temple is holy, and you are this Temple.

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Saviour, Feast of St. Theodore, Martyr (II Classis) – Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate with the entire Universal Church, the feast of the dedication of the greatest church in Christendom, the very heart of our Faith, the very seat of the Successor of St. Peter in this world, that is the Basilica of St. John Lateran, also known by its official name of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in the Lateran.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran is where the Bishops of Rome, the Popes have their Cathedra at. Cathedra is the seat of the bishop, the seat of authority and his throne, representing the teaching authority which had been handed down to him by his predecessors, in an unbroken chain of Apostolic succession. And for the Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, this succession originated from none other than St. Peter the Apostle, the Prince of Apostles, leader of the Universal Church and the Vicar of Christ.

Therefore today we celebrate both the authority of the Popes as the successors of St. Peter the Apostle, and more particularly, their seat of authority as the Bishop of Rome, the Cathedral of the Popes, the Cathedral of Rome itself, that is the Archbasilica of our Saviour, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is rightly often called, the Mother Church of the entire Christendom, because it is exactly the pivot and the centre, around which the entire Universal Church spins.

Today is the commemoration of the very date this Basilica was dedicated and consecrated to the Lord, a very important event which marked the moment when the building of the church was made holy and sacrosanct, blessed and dedicated to the Lord, to be a place of holy worship, worthy of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

And in the Epistle today, we heard on how the Lord is willing to come down from heaven to dwell with us, and this He had done, through His Son Jesus Christ, the One who saved us all through His suffering and death on the cross. He is the tabernacle of God who came down from heaven, to dwell among us forever. What is a tabernacle? Surely we are all aware that the tabernacle is the holiest place in the Church, where the very Holy and Real Presence of God in the Eucharist is housed.

Therefore, Jesus Christ who came into the world, both the Son of Man and Son of God, both fully human and fully divine, is the Word of God made flesh, who took up the humanity and the flesh of mankind to manifest the perfect love of God in this world. Through Him, God has dwelled among men forever, and this He kept true, even until now and beyond, because He has given us His own Body and Blood through the Eucharist, and for us who receive them worthily, the Lord dwells in us, and we dwell in Him.

We have to realise therefore, today, as we celebrate this feast of the dedication of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, we should realise also that just as the holiness and sanctity of that sacred place was created by its dedication and there is a need to maintain that holiness, then we too must realise that as I have mentioned, that because the Lord has dwelled among us, we are also the tabernacles of God, that is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

We are all therefore also meant to be the Temples of God. As such, we have to maintain the purity and holiness of our lives, of our bodies and hearts, or else, the corruption of sin would come to pollute the purity of the Temple of our body and heart. If we allow this fornication and corruption to affect this holy Temple, then our lot will be condemnation and destruction by the Lord, who will destroy us for our sinfulness.

How do then we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? That means all of us should avoid any kinds of actions and attitudes that cause sin to develop and corrupt our hearts. We should keep ourselves clean and pure, by doing what is good in the sight of God, and abandoning all forms of fornications and evils from everything we do, and from everything we say.

Our Lord loves us, brothers and sisters in Christ, and He actively seeks all those who have sinned and have fallen into the darkness, like that of a shepherd looking for his lost sheep. The Gospel today clearly showed this to us, as Jesus showed His love and mercy for Zachaeus, the rich merchant and tax collector, who was seen by the Pharisees as a great sinner for his actions.

Yet it was his sincere desire and effort to seek the Lord, even to climb up a tall tree just so that he could see Him, that brought him into salvation. Jesus also praised him for his faith, and for his commitment to doing what is good and righteous, even to the point of declaring his love for the Lord publicly, and vowed to give to the poor, his love and care.

Therefore, the example of Zachaeus in the Gospel today can be an inspiration for us all, that it is never too late for us to begin a new life in Christ. Although we may have sinned greatly in the past, but with the help of the Lord and sincere effort from our side, we can attain a new holy, pure and committed life to God, and therefore create for ourselves, the holy Temple of God, that is our body, heart and soul.

Today we also celebrate the memory and feast of St. Theodore, a holy martyr of the faith, who was once a soldier in the Roman Army, at the time of the late Roman Empire. He was one of the faithful, and in the still pagan Roman Empire, and especially in the Roman Army, that was a difficult thing to do. He remained true to his faith, and when the Emperor at the time, who was very staunchly pagan and anti-Christian, ordered all those in the army to give idol offering to the pagan gods, St. Theodore refused to do so.

St. Theodore therefore was martyred for his faith, in the zealous and unbending devotion to God, like a true soldier of the Lord indeed. He was therefore the patron saints of warriors and crusaders, the holy warriors fighting in the Name of the Lord. Many who seek help against the forces of evil and darkness pray for the intercession of St. Theodore, the holy and brave martyr of God.

Therefore, on this holy and joyous occasion, let us all ask for the intercession of St. Theodore the martyr, and also all the saints of God, and most especially the Blessed Mother of our God, our Blessed Virgin Mary, to pray for us and intercede for our sake, that we may be strengthened against the forces of evil trying to corrupt us, our bodies, our minds, our hearts and souls, which are the Temples of the Lord’s Holy Presence.

Let us all always be mindful of our words, actions and deeds, that we think twice, thrice and even more, before we even think of committing any sin or any acts deplorable to God. Let us all follow the example of Zachaeus, to declare our love for the Lord and devote ourselves completely and entirely to Him without fear, and give the best of our effort to follow the Lord and walk in His ways.

May Almighty God guide us in this battle of life, so that just as He had sanctified the Basilica of St. John Lateran as the Mother Church of all of His Church and the whole of Christendom, He may also sanctify us as the Temples of His Presence within us, through the Most Holy Eucharist which we receive into ourselves. May God bless us for our faith, and keep us in His love always, forever and ever. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Saviour, Feast of St. Theodore, Martyr (II Classis) – Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Offertory

1 Paralipomenon (Chronicles) 29 : 17, 18

Domine Deus, in simplicitate cordis mei laetus obtuli universa; et populum Tuum, qui repertus est, vidi cum ingenti gaudio : Deus Israel, custodi hanc voluntatem, Alleluja.

 

English translation

O Lord God, in the simplicity of my heart, I have joyfully offered all these things; and I have seen with great joy Your people, which are present. O God of Israel, keep this will, Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Secret (only to be used in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran itself)

Annue, quaesumus, Domine, precibus nostris : (ut, quicumque intra templi hujus, cujus anniversarium dedicationis diem celebramus, ambitum continemur, plena tibi atque perfecta corporis et animae devotione placeamus) ut, dum haec vota praesentia reddimus, ad aeterna praemia, te adjuvante, pervenire mereamur. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

Bow down to our prayers, o Lord, we beseech You (that all of us who are within the precincts of this temple, the anniversary of whose dedication we celebrate, may please You with full and perfect devotion of body and soul) that, while we pay our vows here below, we may, by Your assistance, be worthy to attain unto everlasting rewards. Through our Lord…

 

Secret (Commemoration of Dedication)

Deus, qui sacrandorum tibi auctor es munerum, effunde super hanc orationis domum benedictionem Tuam : ut ab omnibus, in ea invocantibus Nomen Tuum, defensionis Tuae auxilium se nitatur. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

O God, You who are the author of the gifts that are to be consecrated to You, pour forth Your blessing upon this house of prayer, that the help of Your defense may be felt by all who here invoke Your Name. Through our Lord…

 

Secret (Commemoration of St. Theodore)

Suscipe, Domine, fidelium preces cum oblationibus hostiarum : et, intercedente Beato Theodoro Martyre Tuo, per haec piae devotionis officia ad caelestem gloriam transeamus. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

Receive, o Lord, the prayers of the faithful with offerings of sacrifices, and, by the intercession of Blessed Theodore, Your martyr, may we pass through these offices of pious devotion to heavenly glory. Through our Lord…

 

Communion

Matthew 21 : 13

Domus mea domus orationis vocabitur, dicit Dominus : in ea omnis, qui petii, accipit; et qui quaerit, invenit; et pulsanti aperietur.

 

English translation

My house shall be called the house of prayer, says the Lord. Every one who asks therein will receive, and he who seeks, shall find, and to him who knocks, it shall be opened to him.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Post-Communion (Commemoration of Dedication of Basilica of St. John Lateran)

Deus, qui de vivis et electis lapidibus aeternum majestati Tuae praeparas habitaculum : auxiliare populo Tuo supplicanti; ut, quod Ecclesiae Tuae corporalibus proficit spatiis, spiritualibus amplificetur augmentis. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

O God, who from living and chosen stones had prepared for Your majesty an eternal dwelling, help Your people who call upon You, so that what is profitable to Your Church in material growth may be accompanied with an increase of that which is of the Spirit. Through our Lord…

 

Post-Communion (Commemoration of St. Theodore)

Praesta nobis, quaesumus, Domine : intercedente Beato Theodoro Martyre Tuo; ut, quod ore contingimus, pura mente capiamus. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

Grant us, we beseech You, o Lord, by the intercession of Blessed Theodore, Your martyr, that what we touch with our lips we may receive with pure hearts. Through our Lord…

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Saviour, Feast of St. Theodore, Martyr (II Classis) – Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Holy Gospel

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 19 : 1-10

In illo tempore : Ingressus Jesus perambulabat Jericho. Et ecce, vir nomine Zachaeus : et hic princeps erat publicanorum, et ipse dives : et quaerebat videre Jesum, quis esset : et non poterat prae turba, quia statura pusillus erat.

Et praecurrens ascendit in arborem sycomorum, ut videret eum; quia inde erat transiturus. Et cum venisset ad locum, suspiciens Jesus vidit illum, et dixit ad eum : Zachaee, festinans descende; quia hodie in domo tua oportet me manere. Et festinans descendit, et excepit illum gaudens. Et cum viderent omnes, murmurabant, dicentes, quod ad hominem peccatorem divertisset.

Stans autem Zachaeus, dixit ad Dominum : Ecce, dimidium bonorum meorum, Domine, do pauperibus : et si quid aliquem defraudavi, reddo quadruplum. Ait Jesus ad eum : Quia hodie salus domui huic facta est : eo quod et ipse filius sit Abrahae. Venit enim Filius hominis quaerere et salvum facere, quod perierat.

 

English translation

At that time, Jesus entering in, walked through Jericho. And behold there was a man named Zachaeus, who was the chief of the publicans, and he was rich, and he sought to see who Jesus was, and he could not see Him because of the crowd, for he was of low stature.

And running before, he climbed up into a sycamore tree that he might see Him, for He was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to that place, looking up, He saw him and said to him, “Zachaeus, make haste and come down, for this day I must abide in your house.” And he made haste and came down, and received Him with joy. And when all saw it, they murmured, saying that He is going to be a guest with a man who was a sinner.

But Zachaeus standing, said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have wronged any man of anything, I will restore to him fourfold.” Jesus said to him, “This day salvation has come to this house, because he is also a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man comes to seek and save those who were lost.”

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Saviour, Feast of St. Theodore, Martyr (II Classis) – Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Gradual and Alleluia

Tradition of the Faith and Psalm 137 : 2

Locus iste a Deo factus est, inaestimabile sacramentum, irreprehensibilis est.

Response : Deus, cui astat Angelorum chorus, exaudi preces servorum Tuorum.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Adorabo ad templum sanctum Tuum : et confitebor Nomini Tuo. Alleluja.

 

English translation

This place was made by God a priceless mystery, it is without reproof.

Response : O God, before whom stands the choir of angels, hear the prayers of Your servants.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : I will worship toward Your holy Temple, and I will give glory to Your Name. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Saviour, Feast of St. Theodore, Martyr (II Classis) – Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Epistle

Lectio libri Apocalypsis Beati Joannis Apostoli – Lesson from the Book of the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle

Apocalypse 21 : 2-5

In diebus illis : Vidi sanctam civitatem Jerusalem novam descendentem de caelo a Deo, paratam sicut sponsam ornatam viro suo.

Et audivi vocem magnam de throno dicentem : Ecce tabernaculum Dei cum hominibus, et habitabit cum eis. Et ipsi populus ejus erunt, et ipse Deus cum eis erit eorum Deus : et absterget Deus omnem lacrimam ab oculis eorum : et mors ultra non erit, neque luctus neque clamor neque dolor erit ultra, quia prima abierunt.

Et dixit, qui sedebat in throno : Ecce, nova facio omnia.

 

English translation

In those days, I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven, from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying, “Behold the tabernacle of God with men; and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself with them shall be their God, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.”

And He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Saviour, Feast of St. Theodore, Martyr (II Classis) – Wednesday, 9 November 2016 : Introit and Collect

Introit

Genesis 28 : 17 and Psalm 83 : 2-3

Terribilis est locus iste : hic domus Dei est et porta caeli : et vocabitur aula Dei.

Response : Quam dilecta tabernacula Tua, Domine virtutum! Concupiscit, et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Terrible is this place : it is the house of God, and the gate of heaven; and shall be called the court of God.

Response : How lovely are Your tabernacles, o Lord of hosts! My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Collect

Collect for the Dedication of Archbasilica of our Saviour

Deus, qui nobis per singulos annos hujus sancti templi tui consecrationis reparas diem, et sacris semper mysteriis representas incolumes : exaudi preces populi tui, ut praesta; ut, quisquis hoc templum beneficia petiturus ingreditur, cuncta se impetrasse laetetur. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

O God, who year by year renews the day of the consecration of this Your Holy Temple, and ever bring us again in safety to the holy mysteries, hear the prayers of Your people, and grant that whoever enters this temple to seek blessings may rejoice to obtain all that he seeks. Through our Lord…

 

Collect for the commemoration of St. Theodore

Deus, qui nos beati Theodori Martyris tui confessione gloriosa circumdas et protegis : praesta nobis ex ejus imitatione proficere, et oratione fulciri. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

O God, who encompasses and protects us with the glorious testimony of Blessed Theodore, Your martyr, grant us to profit by imitating him and to be supported by his prayers. Through our Lord…

Tuesday, 8 November 2016 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Sacred Scriptures about the importance of obedience and self-control for all of us as Christians, the people and followers of our God. Each and every one of us should be alert and be strong amidst the numerous persuasions and temptations made by the world against us Christians.

There are many temptations, from the temptations of the pleasures of the flesh, of sexual and inappropriate relationships, the temptation of money and wealth, corrupt dealings and dishonesty, all that lead to wickedness and to our downfall, as these tend to cause us to sin. And it has caused many people to fall and be trapped in sin, leading them to their downfall.

It is very easy for us to be tempted if we do not prepare ourselves well. And it is very easy for us to fall into sin, just as our ancestors have fallen into it, succumbing to the pull of their desires and their wants. It is part of our human nature that we desire for worldly things, and in many things, when we have them we will tend to want more and demand more.

Thus, as Christians, it is important that we exercise self-control, and discipline our human desires and greed, or else we may be ensnared by those sins and those desires, and grew further apart and be separated further from the Lord our God and from His love. And the devil and his allies are always going about, trying to find the best opportunity in order to lure us away to our downfall, tempting us with many goodness of the world.

How do we then resist the devil, brothers and sisters in Christ? This is then where we should really seek to live our faith with genuine devotion and commitment. We should not be lukewarm in our faith and be ignorant of the tenets and ways of the Lord. As what the Lord Jesus told the disciples, using the example of a master and his servants, the servant should obey the master and know that their purpose is to serve their master well and not more than that.

Brethren, the Lord God is our Master, the One Who had created us all, gave us life and allowed us to enjoy the life we now have in this world. If in the Gospel passage today Jesus spoke of the servants who ought to obey the master for having took care of them, and them having had to do the duties assigned to them, then all the more we should obey the Lord and His ways, practice them in our own daily lives.

We should deepen our relationships with God, understanding His will and ways, by committing ourselves to a life filled with service and obedience to Him, filled with prayers and devotions, that we may become closer to God, able to communicate with Him and understand truly what He wants from us. And most likely, what He wants us to do, is to live with love and compassion, caring for our brethren in need, forgiving one another our trespasses and mistakes, and devoting ourselves to works of mercy and kindness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all called to be new and committed disciples and followers of our Lord. This is the challenge given to each and every one of us as Christians today. We should not be ignorant of what God wants us to do, or be fearful or be uncertain of what is expected of us. Rather, let us learn to surrender everything we have, everything that we are, to the Lord, so that by doing so, we may learn to obey the Lord and be closer to Him, and resist the temptations of evil, that in the end, we will be found worthy and faithful.

May the Lord bless us and all of our works, and may He inspire in our hearts, the strong desire to follow Him, to obey Him and all of His laws and precepts, that all the things we say and do, we will do it for the greater glory of God and not for our own selfish desires and benefits. God be with us all. Amen.