The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome and the Feast of the Chair of Peter often require some thought and additional information. The Lateran Basilica is the Holy Father's local parish as bishop of Rome; therein lies the importance of this sacred building.
Today, we are gathered here, my brothers and sisters, to commemorate the faithful departed. The first reading says, all the faithful departed shall abide with the Lord in love. We are here to prayerfully remember our loved ones - friends, family, neighbors, people we knew and some we did not know - who have already gone to the Lord. We celebrate their lives and thank God for the time we spent with them here on earth. We pray that God gives them good rest and peace. We pray that their lives remain an inspiration to us who are still on pilgrimage here on earth.
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Can you remember what you wanted to be when you were a kid? It’s good to explore and dream about our futures when we’re young. But it’s even more important for us to dream beyond this world to the one in which we will spend eternity!
Oscar Wilde was a brilliant, witty author. He was jailed on a moral charge at the height of his career. The humiliation devastated him. It also purified him. In de Profundis, one of his later writings, he says: "Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground." The devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady has its origins in Sacred Scripture and Christian piety. This devotion always links the Blessed Mother with her Son's suffering.
On Ascension Thursday, we gather to reflect on the final moment of Jesus' earthly life—the moment He ascends into heaven. How did the apostles live through these last moments of Jesus with them? Just think of how the apostles felt—just a few years before, they were living perfectly ordinary lives with families, friends, village, or neighborhood communities along with day-to-day routines that they followed almost without thinking, just as we do.
In one of her Faith Formation classes, a teacher asked her students to write an essay on this topic—Which relic of which saint would you like to possess and why? On reading one of the masterpieces later, she brightened up. The budding writer said: “I would like to have some drops of the sweat of Saint Joseph in a vial, because his sweat would symbolize honest, humble, honorable work. It was by sweat of his brow that he could feed the Son of God, His Mother, and himself."