On this Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, I humbly pray to you O Lord Jesus Christ for mercy and forgiveness in having hurt your body, the Church.
It is so painful specially these days when people utter all profanities and blasphemies for your Holy Body, but what is most painful is when we in the Church are the ones inflicting your wounds. You have warned us long ago of how people would try to destroy your Church. We need not be alarmed when we are attacked and maligned. That is part of our lives. Just keep us strong and faithful, Lord.
What we must be concerned with – and ashamed of – is when the attacks on your Holy Church come from within, from us your disciples, especially the priests. You were so angry when you saw how the leaders have turned the Temple into a “marketplace” (Jn.2:16). Cleanse us your Church again, Lord Jesus, whip and overturn us when we your pastors are more concerned with money to be earned and collected than to be shared.
Forgive us, O Jesus, in forgetting we are “the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in us” (1Cor.3:16) and we have played gods, possessing your Church, building monuments to our greatness, forgetting the cries of the poor and the women and the children some of us have abused. Have mercy on us, Lord Jesus, when some of us have driven out many from your flock because of our pride and lack of concern, of insensitivities to the plight of many believers confused and lost. Forgive us when we are so quick to defend and safeguard one another’s bruised ego, disregarding the many victims of all forms of abuses by some priests so lost in sin and evil.
Teach us, Lord Jesus our Eternal Priest, to once again be filled with more of you so that we may give life to your people, like the fresh waters of the river seen by Prophet Ezekiel in the first reading flowing from the heavenly temple that every tree planted along its banks is filled with fruits and greenery. Teach our flock also to be holy and help us priests live our vows of poverty, obedience and celibacy. Merciful Jesus, remind us priests and laity always that we do not become holy because we are in the church but that our church becomes holy because of our presence as your indwelling. AMEN.Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.
*Photos of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome by my former student at ICSB, Arch. Philip Santiago during a pilgrimage Sept. 26, 2018. It is the Cathedral of Rome whose Bishop is also the Pope. Hence, it is the “mother of all churches” and sign of our unity as the Catholic Church.