Lateran Basilica, Year A-C, Intermediate

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Intermediate Session
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
John 2:13-22

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
God our Father,
May your Church always be your holy people, united as you are one with the Holy Spirit.
May it be for all the world a sign of your unity and holiness,
as it grows to perfection in your love.
(Opening Prayer-Mass for the Universal Church)

Opening Life Reflection
The topic for today is the Four Marks of the Church. To begin, invite the children to imagine that they have been asked to design a banner for their local church building that shows what is most important about the church. Provide sheets of felt material, scissors and glue, and invite the children to design banners that reflect their understanding of the Church. Let volunteers share their banners with the large group. Discuss:
• Who helps you to grow in your understanding of the Church?
• What do the furnishings and objects found in your church building tell you about the church?
• What do the people who gather to pray and worship in the church building tell you about church?

Allow time for discussion. On today’s feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica we celebrate our freedom to worship as members of the Catholic Church.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Ezekiel listen to the prophet’s vision of water flowing through the temple.

Read Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• In the prophet’s vision, where is water flowing?
• What will the water do for all living things?
• How does the water bring life to the people?

In the gospel today, listen to find out why Jesus is angry.

Read John 2:13-22.
Allow for silence.

• What does Jesus find when he arrives at the temple in Jerusalem?
• How does Jesus force the money changers out of the temple?
• Why is Jesus angry?

Scripture Background
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.

On today’s feast we are reminded that the St. John Lateran Basilica is the cathedral of Rome, which is the cathedral of the bishop of Rome, 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.

The dedication of the basilica has great significance for the life of the Church. Constantine’s conversion to Christianity began a whole new era in the growth of the Church. He gave Pope Sylvester I the property on which the basilica was constructed. The emperor encouraged Christians to worship in public and the era of persecution of Christians was brought to an end. Therefore, today’s feast celebrates freedom of worship.

In the reading from the prophet Ezekiel, we see water flowing through the temple bringing life to every living creature. This vision reveals a restored Israel with a newly rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

In today’s gospel Jesus cleanses the temple by forcing out the money changers. Jesus is angry—an image we seldom see. This gospel reminds us that churches are sacred spaces. In Churches, we gather together respectfully in the presence of God to tell the stories of Jesus and celebrate the new life of the risen Christ.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• What are we reminded of on today’s feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran?
• The vision of flowing water in the first reading shows a cleansing of the temple. How is the temple cleansed in today’s gospel reading?
• What does today’s gospel show us about Jesus?

[If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.]

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Four Marks of the Church

In the celebration of Mass, Christians around the world gather to celebrate that we are one with Christ and with each other. At Mass we profess our belief when we pray: We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. One, holy, catholic, and apostolic, these are the four marks of the Church.

The Church of Jesus Christ is one Church because of its source, God, who is the supreme example of unity, the Holy Trinity. We who are the Church work together to be one body, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One. We believe the Church is holy because the people of God are one with each other and one with Christ, who sacrificed himself in order to make holy his body the Church. We believe the Church is catholic or universal because Christ is at its head. The church reaches out to and embraces the whole human family. The church’s mission is to the whole world. The Church is apostolic because it is founded upon the apostles, whom Jesus sent out to teach in his name. Today’s feast celebrates the universal Church which is apostolic, catholic, holy and one.

• What are the four marks of the church?
• What do the four marks of the church tell us about what we believe?
• When do we profess our belief in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church?

The Gospel in Life
This week, look for signs of how the church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

Posted in: Sessions A , Sessions B , Sessions C