This post is not the leap that one might think it is, upon reading its title, Lateran Fat. Today the Church celebrates the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. This building was built by the Emperor Constantine, and since it was the first church ever built in Christendom, it is honored as the mother church.
The reading this morning is the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17. Paul tells us that we humans are God’s building. We are temples of God.
In the Gospel, John 2:13-22, Jesus refers to Himself as the temple.
In the Preface, the priest prayed:
For in your benevolence you are pleased to dwell in this house of prayer in order to perfect us as the temple of the Holy Spirit, supported by the perpetual help of your grace and resplendent with the glory of a life acceptable to you.
All these readings came to mind when I reflected on the rest of my day. Today I have T.O.P.S. My friends in T.O.P.S. are very, very, conscious of their bodies. Whether or not, they call their bodies “temples of the Holy Spirit” or not, they are conscious that they should take care of their God given bodies. That’s not so easy. It can be depressing when you do take all the care you possibly can, and your body is not perfect.
The basilica of Saint John Lateran needs constant care. It is old. It needs more and more care the older it gets. Sometimes scaffolding around its structure seems permanent. It’s a money pit. One could become depressed and give up on maintenance.
Would history ever forgive us?
Are we not more important than a building? Paul reminds us:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
This is why my T.O.P.S. friends don’t give up. They instinctively know that they are important in God’s eyes. They can’t give up. They have to constantly eat mindfully and live healthfully.
I also add that the spiritual health of all of the T.O.P.S. people, in my chapter, anyway, is conscious that they reflect images of God. They are very, very, supportive of each other. We have all become friends. We attend other functions, not related to T.O.P.S. at all, just to support another member. We visit and call when one of us is sick. And we pray for each other. We pray to meet each other in heaven some day; where we’ll all have perfect bodies.