Today’s feast reveals to us everything the Church is meant to be as the Body of Christ in this world. It’s also a celebration of everything the Church can be in our lives—the place where we meet Almighty God face-to-face.
The Lateran Basilica is the cathedral church for the Pope in his role as Bishop of Rome. It’s also regarded as the mother church for all Catholics, the first among equals in relationship to all the other dioceses and cathedrals spread throughout the world.
Today’s first reading from the prophet Ezekiel is so appropriate for today’s feast. The prophet saw a small stream flowing from the Temple. At first it seemed insignificant, but as it travelled through the land, it grew deeper, wider and faster. This was no ordinary stream. It was the river of God’s delight, made up of water that brings healing and restoration wherever it flows. It was a sign to Ezekiel that whenever God dwells with his people, grace and miracles follow.
As the mother church of all Christian peoples, the Lateran Basilica is a constant witness to God’s power. This river started as a small trickle among a few people in first-century Jerusalem. A few decades later, it flowed to Rome, the centre of the Roman Empire. But look where this river has flowed over the past two thousand years. Look at how much healing, freedom, joy, and restoration it has accomplished. Everywhere the river flows, it brings new life. Today’s feast teaches us that we should never underestimate what God can do.