|Father Perry D. Leiker|
People who do not have a love for architecture or history can look at a building and say: “It’s just a building.”
Tearing it down is often just a practical issue of making way for the new. Those who love architecture and history at first are stunned but eventually reply: “Are you kidding? This is the most important building in the city.”
They then speak about how important is the ‘symphony hall’ where the greatest music comes to life. Or they speak about this ‘civic building’ where the greatest political and historic moments have changed the course of life for a people. Or they share the pride of a ‘university hall’ where generations of young men and women have come to learn and grow in knowledge and be formed in their future roles for society.
They speak of ‘museums’, and ‘synagogues’, and ‘theatrical venues’ and even a famous ‘restaurant’ or ‘bar’ that the famous have frequented.
But we as a Catholic community would say without skipping a beat: ‘the cathedral’ – it clearly is the most important building of our faith community. This is not only the cathedra or seat of our bishop, but the gathering place that unites us as the people of God.
St. John Lateran is the pope’s seat in Rome. It is the mother church of the entire Roman Catholic Church. The first reading speaks of the temple where the life giving waters flow. The temple which is clearly sacred space gives life. The second reading speaks about the people who through Baptism become a living building, living stones, the living temple of God.
For this reason, Jesus’ cleansing of the temple becomes singularly significant as he proclaims: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
And the Scripture notes: “He was speaking about the temple of his Body.”
‘Building’ takes on a new meaning. Cleansing the temple also takes on a new meaning as we seek to be ‘living temples’ that are grace filled as well as the ‘living church’ – a temple of hope, a temple of peace, a temple where God truly dwells within and among us.
Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email email@example.com.