Today we celebrate the feast day of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. What is its significance? Here in the parish of Lettermacaward where I am at the moment, the local House of God is next door to the presbytery. For the diocese of Raphoe to which this parish belongs, the next ‘higher up’ House of God is the Cathedral in the town of Raphoe. This is where the bishop lives, the man who holds the office of Apostle – those workers (and their successors) that Jesus picked to continue his work after his Ascension. The Lateran Basilica in Rome is thus the world-wide House of God which is the See of the Successor of St Peter. All this attention to church buildings is a reminder of the world wide structure and unity of the Church, the Body of Christ, which is our true meeting place with God.
The reading for Evening Prayer (Apocalypse 21:1,2-3,22,27) is a reminder of what the House of God in heaven will be like when the fullness of our true meeting place with God will be revealed.
I saw a new heaven and a new earth; I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, ’You see this city? Here God lives among men. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people, and he will be their God.’ I saw that there was no temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple. Nothing unclean may come into it: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb’s book of life.
The meeting place between Jon and Garfield isnt all that pleasant!