WE ARE reminded of this character of the Church on the Feast of the Dedication of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome on November 9. This basilica is honored as the episcopal seat of the Pope as Bishop of Rome. It is the “mother and head of all churches of Rome and the world.”
In the gospel reading of this feast, we are told about how Christ drove away those who turned the temple area in Jerusalem into a marketplace. (cfr. Jn 2,13-22) “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace,” he said.
The gospel obviously tells us that the church is a sacred place. As Christ said, it is his Father’s house, the house of God. It’s where we are supposed to have our definitive home for all eternity, united with God and all the saints. Of course, while here on earth, the church can only approximate that ideal, but we should treat it as best that we can as a sacred place.
The gospel also highlights the truth that there is such thing as righteous anger as shown by Christ himself in that episode. Anger is a human emotion that has a rightful place in our nature. But we should learn to deal with it properly, because unless inspired by faith, hope and charity, that emotion can only be harmful to us.
We just have to be wary of our anger because as St. James already warned us in his letter, “man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.” (1,20) We always tend to go overboard, and our anger can already go beyond the scope of charity and righteousness.
Let’s never forget that we have a wounded condition here in our earthly life. We may appear strong and clearly endowed with powerful talents and resources, but all these good things can blind and intoxicate us also and can plunge us into very subtle forms of pride, vanity, arrogance and self-righteousness.
We can feel that we have all the truth and fairness in our side, but just the same all that can still be held outside of charity. And let’s remember that charity is the fullness of knowledge, truth, justice. Where there is no charity, the charity of God, all the other virtues can at best be only apparent. They can look and feel like virtues, but in reality are not.
But in spite of all our weaknesses, we have to realize also that the Church is actually for all, both the saintly and the sinful. It is meant to help everyone in the way they need to be helped. We always have that need. And the Church has all the things we need to achieve our final goal despite the varying conditions of our life here on earth.
Let’s remember that the fullness of our quality of life is when we are truly with God who can help us to deal with whatever situation or condition we may find ourselves in this life. Let’s overcome the thinking that the quality of our life simply depends on whether we are lucky enough to be rich, intelligent, talented, powerful, etc. We may be poor, not gifted or lucky enough to be intelligent, talented, or powerful, but if we are with God, we actually have the best quality of life! By Fr. Roy Cimagala (EV Mail November 7-13, 2022 issue)