We Are Temples of the Holy Spirit — Weekday Homily Video
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.
Well, you might ask, what about its name? It was originally dedicated by Pope Sylvester in 324 AD and called Holy Savior. You might be wondering at this point — I thought you said its name was. Well, the name change occurred for two reasons. First, it was built on property donated by the Laterani family. The baptistry, which allows for total immersion, is named after St. John. Hence, the full name is St. John Lateran Basilica.
Visiting the Church
In 2010, when on pilgrimage for Brother Andre Bessette's Canonization in Rome, many of us visited this beautiful church. Today's readings and feast remind us that these temples of worship have significance beyond their aesthetics and function; they are meant to remind us of God's presence in this world and heaven.
As we enter a church, we recognize that it has been dedicated to God. A place where the Body of Christ is made present by the priest acting in the person of Christ calling down the Holy Spirit. In these holy places, children and adults are baptized into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and made brothers and sisters in Christ. A place where Confessions are heard and people's souls are healed, a place where people fully receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation, where men and women are united in the marriage covenant with God, and where men are ordained to the Diaconate and Priesthood and religious men and women make their vows. It is also the place where we offer the Mass of the Resurrection for our loved ones whose souls have left this earth.
Temples of God
But as St. Paul reminds the Corinthians and us today, we are also temples of God, and the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us. We don't often think about ourselves this way, but we should. How we think, speak, and act will only improve if we recognize in whose image we are made and the presence of God within us.
Recently, I heard of a program called Recovery Court. It is an alternative to prison for people who've committed a crime related to drug use or distribution. The program involves a six-month substance abuse recovery program with counseling, job training, and peer support. The people in the interview all stated that, for the first time, they had come to see that a sober life was not only possible but joy-filled. By making this decision and commitment, they discovered the good that God had created them for, perhaps after they no longer believed it was possible.
I thought of this as I reflected on carrying the Eucharist from church to a person in their home. As I traveled the distance, I was taken by the fact that Jesus was in a pyx in my shirt pocket over my heart. It caused me to think, speak, and act differently because I was that close to Jesus.
Closer Through Communion
Each of us is even closer to Jesus through the reception of the Eucharist in Holy Communion, and at times, by the time we leave the church, we can lose this awareness. I'd say the same is true even to a greater degree with the reception of the Holy Spirit, first in baptism and then more fully in Confirmation, and in each visit to Confession and in countless other moments where God imparts His grace.
Do we realize that because the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we are never alone and without hope, for God is always with us? Do we appreciate that when we go home, to school, or work, even out on errands, we carry the Holy Spirit and can share joy and hope of God's presence with people in a world that so desperately needs to encounter God?
One last thought: we can also pray for an increase in grace in the presence of the Holy Spirit and receive Him in Confession, for at times, we might feel like we're running on empty. Just remember the prayer: "Come Holy Spirit," and God will provide, refilling our God-created temples that bear the Holy Spirit that animates and orients our lives to goodness and holiness and, one day, please God, that will lead us to heaven.
- Father David's inspirational homily was recorded live during Mass at the Father Peyton Center this morning. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
- To view the Rosary prayer and Mass streaming live, please visit our Facebook page at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, Monday – Friday. Please invite your loved ones to join us too! (If you are not a member of Facebook and a signup window appears, simply select the X at the top of the pop-up message and continue to the livestream.)
About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!