In Catholic circles the dedication of a church building is celebrated today – the dedication of the Cathedral church of Rome – St. John Lateran.
Such a feast strikes me as very bizarre! Why have a feast celebrating a building? After all, buildings will crumble, buildings come and go. Yet on the other hand, there is something to be said for “sacred space.” That space could be within a building for some, and in the Cathedrals of forests and mountains for others. The fact is, in the noisy, frenzied society in which we live, the need for sacred space becomes paramount. We all need a place to go where we can be silent, renewed and refreshed, whether that be within the walls of a building, our homes or in nature.
What’s curious to me in this feast is that the readings suggested don’t so much point to the building of a temple. In the end, does God really care about all these temples and monuments built to Her/His name?? I don’t think so. The Scripture readings speak of the temple that you and I are and the importance of caring for that temple and building up the body that we are as humans. It is about building bridges of forgiveness and love between peoples and nations. It is about caring for our own body temples and our minds. It is about building up one other in love, reaching beyond our comfort zones at times to care for the lonely, the lost, the hurting. This is what it means to building a temple pleasing to God.
So, how well am I caring for the temple that is my body? How am I contributing to the building up of those who are in need?