Lateran Basilica, Year A-C, Catechist

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Catechist Background and Preparation
To prepare for this session, read all the readings.
(The readings given here are suggestions. Any readings assigned for the dedication of a church—Lectionary #701-706—may be used.)
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
John 2:13-22

Spend a few minutes reflecting on what these readings mean for you today. Is there a particular reading that appeals to you? Is there a word that engages you?

Read the following Word in Liturgy and Catholic Doctrine sections. These give you background on this session. Read over the session outline and make it your own. Check to see what materials you will need.

Word in Liturgy
The feast of the dedication of the basilica of St. John Lateran, November 9, is considered a feast of the Lord and so takes precedence when it falls on a Sunday in Ordinary Time. St. John Lateran Basilica is the cathedral of Rome, and is therefore the cathedral of the bishop of Rome—the Holy Father, the pope. The basilica dates back to the time of Constantine the Great in the 4th century, and was dedicated on November 9, in 324 A.D.

Although this dedication occurred nearly seventeen centuries ago, its significance for the Church is considerable. After emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, he gave Pope Sylvester I the property on which the basilica was constructed. Constantine’s conversion brought an end to the era of persecution of Christians, and thus today’s feast celebrates freedom of worship.

In the first reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel, we see a vision of a restored Israel with a newly rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

Today’s passage from John’s gospel provides an image we seldom see—the anger of Jesus—and tells the story of the cleansing of the temple. This gospel reminds us of the nature of our churches as places where the people of God gather in mutual respect to tell the stories of Jesus and celebrate the new life of the risen Christ.

Catholic Doctrine
The Four Marks of the Church

While this feast originates in a particular edifice in a particular place, it truly celebrates the universal Church which is apostolic, catholic, holy and one. The following is a brief summary of each of these characteristics.

We believe the Church is apostolic because it is founded upon the apostles, those chosen witnesses who were sent out on mission by the Lord himself and who later testified to the saving plan of God in Christ.

We believe the Church is catholic or universal because Christ is at its head. The Church is also catholic in the sense that its mission is to the whole world. This universal Church is truly present in each local or particular church.

We believe the Church is holy because Jesus, the Son of God, loved the Church so much that he sacrificed himself in order to sanctify his ecclesial body. Thus, the Church is called the “holy people of God” and her members “saints.”

We believe the Church is one because of its source, the divinity, who is the supreme example of unity: the God who is three-in-one, the Holy Trinity.

These four characteristics, which we profess in the Creed, indicate essential elements or qualities of the Church and its mission.

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