Vatican City, 9 November 2014 (VIS) – At midday the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, explaining that today's liturgy recalls the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome, traditionally defined as the “mother of all the churches in the city and in the world”.
“The term 'mother' refers not only to the sacred building of the Basilica, but also to the work of the Holy Spirit, made manifest in this building and fruitful through the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, in all the communities in unity with the Church over whom He presides”, he explained. “Every time we celebrate the dedication of a church, an essential truth is recalled to us: the material temple made of bricks is a sign of the living Church at work in history, that 'spiritual temple' … of which Christ Himself is 'a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight'”.
In the Gospel of today's liturgy, Jesus speaks about the “temple”, revealing a surprising truth: the temple of God is not merely the edifice built of bricks, but it is His body, made up of living stones. “By virtue of Baptism, every Christian forms part of God's edifice, or rather, becomes the God's Church. The spiritual edifice, the Church that is the community of men and women sanctified by Christ's blood and the Spirit of the Risen Lord, asks each one of us to be consistent with the gift of faith and to take the path of Christian witness. … The Church, at the origin of her life and her mission in the world, was none other than a community constituted to confess faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Redeemer of humanity, a faith that works through charity. … Today, too, the Church is required to take her place in the world as a community that, rooted in Christ through Baptism, professes faith in Him with humility and courage, bearing witness to it through charity. In the same way, institutional elements, structures and pastoral entities must be ordered in accordance with this essential objective”.
“Today's celebration invites us to reflect on the communion of all the Churches, of this Christian community, and by analogy, it stimulates us to make efforts to enable humanity to overcome the barriers of enmity and indifference, to build bridges of understanding and dialogue, to make the entire world into a family of peoples, reconciled among themselves, fraternal and in solidarity”.