The first reading speaks of the Temple as the wellspring and source of life-giving and life-sustaining water. The Temple represents the Church: each one of us has entered the Church and has become a member of the Church through the life-giving water of baptism. Water cleanses and gives and sustains life. The images of life-giving water characterize the bountiful graces from the Church and its sacraments for all the faithful believers.
In the second reading Paul speaks of the members of the Church as a temple, as God's building built with Christ as the foundation, and of each Christian as a temple of God. The Church was founded by Christ on St. Peter and the apostles. At the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the apostles were strengthened and graced to preach the Good News to the world. The new Christians, the believers, were seen as the additional stones of the Church seen as a building. Christ is seen as the cornerstone, as the central keystone, on which and through which the Church stands, grows and survives. At baptism, the baptized is "freed from sin, given a new birth in water and the Holy Spirit and welcomed into his holy people." The Church continues under the leadership of men and women called to this work. The physical building, church or temple, stands for the whole Church founded by Christ on Peter and the apostles and made up of all the baptized. It also represents the individual Christian who is indeed a temple or dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Each Christian, from the time he/she is baptized, is granted forgiveness of sins and is given God's grace.
In the Gospel reading Christ cleanses the temple at Jerusalem of the merchants, sellers and money-changers: "Take all this away and stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!" The Temple is the special dwelling place of Israel's God and of Israel's covenant with God.
The Lateran Basilica in Rome is the cathedral church of the Bishop of Rome. Its official name is the "Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist at the Lateran." The celebration of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in the whole Church is a sign of the union of all churches with the See of St. Peter and of its acceptance and recognition as the "mother and head of all churches in the city and in the world," because it is the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter.
We especially pray that our new Pontiff, Pope Francis, may be a faithful and effective leader of the Church of our time. We pray that the Church may be with him as he stresses its being a Church of and for the poor.
We also pray that we be more conscious of the whole Church, that each one of us is a member and has a special and specific role in the Church, the mystical Body of Christ.
We also pray that we be responsible as holy temples of God's Spirit, sustained always by his saving presence and grace.