The WORD in other Words by Fr Semei Rebayla SVD (Philippines) for Feast of Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
As we celebrate the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, let us revisit the role of the Church. Pope John XXIII in his encyclical, Mater et Magistra, describes the church‘s role as a mother and a teacher. As a mother, she has to give life to her children and show her maternal care. As a teacher, she has to teach and guide them. Jesus is the embodiment of such roles.
Today‘s gospel highlights the church‘s role as teacher; Jesus shows what it takes to be one. He made a whip out of cord to arive away those who made the temple a marketplace.
In the Philippine context, the mother and teacher roles of the church are inseparable. Churches‘ doors are always open to welcome people from all walks of life. The church also fearlessly corrects the immoral behavior in society. She has to intervene even in matters of politics knowing that every political issue is a moral issue. No wonder, Church‘s officials often collide with government leaders.
In this festivity, it is good to note that behind the church as a community of Christian faithful are the ordained ministers. As mortals, they also err. But they are indispensable to the existence of the church for without them there would be no sacraments. Thus it is good to pray for the ordained priests and remember what American Archbishop Alexander K. Sample said during a priestly ordination that without priests there is no Eucharist and without Eucharist there is no church.
Truly, a church cannot be called a church without the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Thus in this festivity we must pray sincerely for all priests that they may persevere in the priesthood. We also pray for more vocations to the priesthood.