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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Reflection 2020-11-09 Monday 32nd Week in Ordinary Time – Dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran

Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 46; 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22
The Pope's Cathedra at St John Lateran
St John Lateran is where the Pope sits as Bishop of Rome. It is the oldest public church in the city of Rome and was dedicated in 324. Since it is the Church of the Bishop of Rome, she is called the Mother and Head of all Churches. The First Reading tells us water flows from the temple and enters the sea of stagnant waters and the water will become fresh. This river gives life. This is a picture of what the Church is: she gives life. Since there is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, this Church subsists in the Catholic Church, headed by the Peter and his successors. From this, we say there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.
By saying this, we mean that God’s grace flows through the Catholic Church even if other Christian communities do not recognize it. All Christian communities have baptism and this comes from the baptism instituted by the Church from the time of the Apostles. Grace also flows through Scripture which came from the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and founded on Jesus Christ. There are many misconceptions about the Catholic Church, but history proves this and so does Scripture. The letters of St Paul show how the early communities he wrote to held on to the teaching authority of the Apostles and the bishops they appointed to succeed them.
Some may say the Catholic Church has been corrupted so it has lost its standing. But that argument contradicts Scripture. God made a covenant with David and when David sinned, God did not take that covenant away. In fact, Christians believe, Jesus is the fulfillment of that covenant. The kingdom of David did not fall, despite the numerous idolaters and wicked sons of David. God is true to his Word and will not nullify it, even if human beings are wicked. God made a covenant with Abraham that the children from Sarah will be his people. We see this even today, the nation of Israel was restored and exists despite the numerous sins of its people before.
When we look at the Catholic Church today, we see a lot of corrupt Church leaders, sexual molesters, Bishops who cover up these sins, those in the hierarchy who teach error, especially in matters of life and human sexuality and morals. This does not negate the fact that Jesus knew this will happen and yet, he promised he not even the gates of hell will prevail against it.
The Church is the mystical Body of Christ. So what the humanity of Jesus, the Church possesses. The Church is human and divine. She is human because it is made of sinful human beings. She is divine because the grace of God flows through her through the Sacrament. God uses her sinful ministers to reveal himself. Just as Jesus is visible, the Church is visible. Just as Jesus has one head, the Church has one head, the Pope. One may ask, how can the Church be divine if she has sinful members? If one asks this question, then one should ask also, how can the human body of Jesus be injured, pierced by nails and spear, and crown of thorns when he is divine? How can Jesus die when he is divine? We cannot separate the divinity of Jesus from his humanity. They are united without conflict nor confusion. But Jesus rose from the dead after three day, as the Gospel today says. So the Church will rise to life despite the sinfulness of her members.
When Jesus rose from the dead, he still bore the wounds on the cross. The Church will continue to bear the wounds caused by her members, but like her Lord, the Church will continue to give life, channel God’s grace and be God’s way of leading people to salvation by revealing her Bridegroom, the true Way to Salvation: Jesus Christ.
Lord, I pray for the Pope. Bless him and protect him from all evil. Give him wisdom to unite your people to you. Let your Church continue to call people to you and lead them to you, who is Lord, forever and ever.

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