Monday, 9 November 2020 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, together with the entire Universal Church all of us rejoice together celebrating the great Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which is the preeminent, principal and most important of all the churches in the whole world. It is the most important church and the heart of all Christendom.

The full name of the Lateran Basilica is appropriately, the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist at the Lateran. It is the only Archbasilica to signify that it is truly above all every other churches as the place where the seat of the authority of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ is at.

Although most of us would often associate the Papal Basilica of St. Peter as the seat of the Pope given that it is part of the Vatican City and the Pope himself resides within its complex in the Apostolic Palace, and although most of the Papal celebrations and liturgies take place in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, but the Cathedra of the Pope is not there.

Each of the diocesan bishops of the world has his seat of authority in a church, which is then named as the cathedral of the diocese named after the cathedra, the bishop’s seat of authority as the symbol of his jurisdiction and authority over his entire diocese. The Pope as the Bishop of Rome therefore also has his cathedra which is at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran was the first of the public churches of Rome to be built after centuries of often intense persecutions of Christians by the Roman government and state and the faithful in Rome had to clandestinely meet and celebrate the Mass in catacombs. There were also other churches built in Rome by the Emperor Constantine after he extended official toleration of Christians in the Edict of Milan, including the old St. Peter’s Basilica, the current one being rebuilt five hundred years ago.

It was therefore there at the very heart and centre of Imperial Rome that the Basilica of St. John Lateran was built and completed, and the Pope took it as his Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and it has remained as such to this very day. The Pope himself lived and reigned at the adjacent Lateran Palace for many centuries before political circumstances and agreements made it such that now the Pope resides in the Vatican.

But the Cathedral of Rome remains and is always at the Basilica of St. John Lateran and the events of the inauguration of a new Pope is only complete when he assumed his cathedra at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The possession of this cathedra makes this great Basilica as the Mother Church of the Diocese of Rome, just like in any other dioceses.

And since the Pope is not just the Bishop of Rome, but also the Successor of St. Peter the Apostle as the Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff, the leader of the entire One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, thus, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the Mother Church of the entire world, the Mother of all the churches. Hence, this is why all of us rejoice together today marking the anniversary of its Dedication.

But we must also not forget that even as we rejoice at the Dedication of this great House of God, the Mother and Head of all the churches of Rome and the world, we are also ourselves God’s Holy Temple, as St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle to the Corinthians. We are all the Temples of His Holy Presence and of His Holy Spirit, dwelling in us all and sanctifying us.

Just as at the Dedication of a church, the church’s Altar is blessed with holy water, anointed with holy oils, and had its candles lighted and the Altar covered with pure white Altar cloths, thus, each and every one of us at the moment of our baptism, we have been baptised with holy water in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, anointed with the holy oil of chrism, dressed in new, white garment and received the lighted candle.

We can clearly see the parallel between the Dedication of a church, like the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, with our own ‘dedication’ to God that is our baptism and initiation into the Faith and the Church. Just as the Dedication of the Church and its Altar sanctifies them and makes them a holy place worthy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, then through baptism we have also been sanctified and purified to be worthy to be God’s Holy Temple.

We receive the Lord Himself into us in the Eucharist, the Real Presence of the Precious Body and Blood of the Lord, and also the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. Thus, if we keep the sanctity and purity of our churches and their Altars, then we must also keep the sanctity and purity of the Temple of our body and being, the House of God that is each and every one of us. Doing otherwise and to defile this sanctity is a sin against God.

What do we do then if we have defiled the sanctity of our Temple of God, our body, heart, mind and soul? Then we ought to try to rectify it as best as we can. The Lord has granted us through the Church, the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, by which through the authority He has given to His Apostles and their successors, our bishops and priests, the authority to forgive us our sins and absolve us from our faults and wrongdoings given that we are willing to fully repent from them.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, if we have not gone for confession for a while, let us have the courage to admit our faults and sins, and have the desire to repent and turn away from those sinful ways. The Lord through His priest and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will heal us and make us whole again. And then, more importantly, we must strive henceforth to resist further temptations to sin.

It will definitely be challenging as we live in a world surrounded and filled by those many temptations. But if we do our best and keep strong our faith in God, and help one another in persevering through the challenges then we should be able to pull through the difficulties and trials together, and together we shall be found worthy of God and be glorified together with Him in the end, forever and ever.

May the Lord, our ever loving God help us to keep each and every one of us holy and filled with faith, each as glorious Temples of His Holy Presence, much like the glorious Mother of all the churches of Rome and the world, the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Amen.

Monday, 9 November 2020 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (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 making a marketplace of My Father’s house!” 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.

Monday, 9 November 2020 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (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 YHVH of hosts, the God of Jacob, our refuge. Come, see the works of YHVH – the marvellous things He has done in the world.

Monday, 9 November 2020 : Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (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 eastward. 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 seawater 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 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) – Monday, 9 November 2020 : 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) – Monday, 9 November 2020 : 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) – Monday, 9 November 2020 : 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) – Monday, 9 November 2020 : 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) – Monday, 9 November 2020 : 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…