Today the Church celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, St. John Lateran, which also serves as the Pope’s Basilica as the Bishop of Rome. In many ways, the image of a ‘church’ structure, symbolizes the many different aspects and elements of the church architecture which come together to form a beautiful place of worship.
We hear in the readings today that Christ is the foundation of this structure, and each of us are a temple of God. (1 Corinthians 3) The Spirit of God dwells within each of us and dwells within the Church. From the Church flows a life-giving water that sustains the life of every creature and plant, and refreshes the waters of the sea. (Ezekiel 47)
It is good for everyone of us to think through this imagery of being ‘living stones’ (1 Peter 2:4-6) in the edifice of the Church. Our membership in the Church is in and through Jesus Christ, in whom we are bound together in our many varied gifts into the one community of faith. Thus, for our unity, we are to regularly cultivate our friendship with Christ; our LIFE in Christ.
Another way to look at our membership in the Church is through another beautiful title of the Church. We (every member of the Church) are the Body of Christ. In Baptism, we are joined in a very real and permanent way to the person of Jesus. This means that our natural life is now oriented to its fullness in the person of Jesus. To use other language, we have become ‘one flesh’ with Christ.
Once our bodies, our life, is joined to Jesus, we now are continually being more and more oriented to Christ; to His Gospel and Truth. Our relationship with Christ is what frees us from sin, and helps us find our proper ‘freedom’ in all that we do. Christ is now intimately a part of us, and through baptism, Christ has made us an intimate part of Himself.
All that we do ‘in the flesh’ now involves our ‘one flesh’ union with Christ, and this knowledge and reality is what consciously informs us in our behaviors, our thinking, our values. What we cannot imagine Christ partaking in, we no longer indulge in. What we see Jesus doing, we now participate in. This is the life-giving water that flows from the Church and renews all things; the life of Christ in us and the life of the Holy Spirit that animates our very existence.
All that God created finds its renewal and redemption in the person of Christ. Through the Church and her sacraments, Christ brings us into his Body. In Christ, we are made whole; we are made one. Let us live our life in Christ in unity, peace and joy.