Dedication of the Lateran Basilica Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.


Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Saturday, November 9, 2019


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Ezekiel 47:1-2,8-9,12
I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 46:2-3,5-6,8-9
God is our refuge and our strength.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 3:9-11,16-17
You are the temple of God.

Gospel Reading
John 2:13-22
He spoke about the temple of his own body.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The story of the cleansing of the Temple is found in all four Gospels. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is upset with the deceitful practices of the vendors and expels them for that reason. But in John, Jesus' authority is contrasted with the authority of the Temple cult and is a criticism of the cult itself.

The story is composed of two parts, Jesus' action in the Temple and Jesus' predictions about the Temple's destruction. The time of year is the sacred feast of Passover. If the many pilgrims to Jerusalem during Passover were to have animals for the sacrificial rituals of the feast, it was necessary to sell cattle in the Temple and to change the unclean Roman money. By denouncing this, Jesus is cutting to the core of the Temple cult.

The story is really about Jesus' fate, not the Temple's fate, revealing that Jesus, not the Temple, is the locus of God's presence on earth. As they often do in John, the Jews misunderstand Jesus' words. This gives John the chance to explicitly state his point. Although this is the beginning of his ministry, Jesus is already speaking of his coming death and Resurrection.

John intentionally integrates a post-Resurrection perspective into the Gospel narrative. The statement that concludes this passage uses the fact of the Resurrection to prove the point of Jesus' words. Believers need to remember the words and actions of Jesus and claim them as affirmations of the truths of their faith.

Christians sometimes point to Jesus' anger in this passage as a way to point out Jesus' humanity. But this would miss the powerful point of the entire Gospel, that the Word became flesh. The point is not that Jesus' anger proves he is human. It is that a human being, in his words and actions, can claim the authority of God.


Gospel Reading
John 2:13-22
He spoke about the temple of his own body.


Making the Connection (Grades 1, 2, and 3)

Some children at this age have visited the homes of famous people as part of family vacations. These homes speak about the people who lived there. As we celebrate the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, we are reminded that we are not celebrating a building, but the people that this building represents: the pope and the People of God.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the children if they have ever visited the home of a famous person, for example, Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson.

  2. Encourage the children to talk about some homes of famous people that they have visited.

  3. Say: We visit the homes of famous people, not so much because we want to learn about the building, but because we want to learn about the person who once lived there. Buildings can often tell us a lot about people. This Sunday, we are celebrating the dedication of a building. It's called the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and it is in Rome. The reason it is so famous is because it is the cathedral church of the diocese of Rome. Does anyone know who the Bishop of Rome is? (the pope)

  4. Say: It may seem as though we are celebrating a building at this Mass, but we are really celebrating the people who make this building special: the pope, who is the Bishop of Rome, and the People of God who gather there.

  5. Invite a volunteer to read aloud the Gospel, John 2:13-22.

  6. Ask: What important building was Jesus visiting in this Gospel story? (the Temple) Whose “home” was the Temple? (God's)

  7. Say: Jesus reminds us to respect the places where we gather to worship God so that we worship him with pure hearts and minds.

  8. Conclude by praying this Sunday's Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 46.


Gospel Reading
John 2:13-22
He spoke about the temple of his own body.


Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6)

Some children at this age have visited the homes of famous people as part of family vacations. These homes speak about the people who lived there. As we celebrate the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, we are reminded that we are not celebrating a building, but the people that this building represents: the pope and the People of God.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the children if they have ever visited the home of a famous person, for example, Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson.

  2. Encourage the children to talk about some homes of famous people that they have visited.

  3. Say: We visit the homes of famous people, not so much because we want to learn about the building, but because we want to learn about the person who once lived there. Buildings can often tell us a lot about people. This Sunday, we are celebrating the dedication of a building. It's called the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and it is in Rome. The reason it is so famous is because it is the cathedral church of the diocese of Rome. Does anyone know who the Bishop of Rome is? (the pope)

  4. Say: It may seem as though we are celebrating a building at this Mass, but we are really celebrating the people who make this building special: the pope, who is the Bishop of Rome, and the People of God who gather there.

  5. Invite a volunteer to read aloud the Gospel, John 2:13-22.

  6. Ask: What important building was Jesus visiting in this Gospel story? (the Temple) Whose “home” was the Temple? (God's)

  7. Say: Jesus reminds us to respect the places where we gather to worship God so that we worship him with pure hearts and minds.

  8. Conclude by praying this Sunday's Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 46.


Gospel Reading
John 2:13-22
He spoke about the temple of his own body.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age might have traveled and visited churches in other cities and countries. Their experiences can provide the foundation for the celebration of the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Materials Needed

  • A picture of the Basilica of St. John Lateran
  • The name of your local cathedral

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask the young people to name the capital of your home state. Then quiz them on the capitals of a few other states.

  2. Ask: What does it mean when we call a city a capital? (It is a city where a government is located.)

  3. Say: During the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire ruled over a great area of the world. What was the capital of this empire? (Rome)

  4. Say: When the early Church set forth to carry the Gospel of Jesus to the world, it knew that it needed to go to Rome, the capital of the most influential political power at that time. It was in Rome that Peter, the first pope, was martyred. Rome became the center from which the pope, the Bishop of Rome, governed the Church. Does anyone know what we call the church where a bishop resides? (a cathedral) Ask if anyone knows the name of your local cathedral.

  5. Say: This Sunday, we celebrate the dedication of the cathedral church in Rome—the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Show the picture of the church. Explain that it is called a basilica because it refers to a specific architectural style or a church's historical or religious importance.

  6. Explain that, even though St. Peter's in Rome is more known, the Basilica of St. John Lateran is the seat of the Bishop of Rome. Say: Grandeur and beauty are important ways to honor God. But we are foremost a church of people, of believers. When we recall that the pope is also a bishop, a person responsible for leading his parish and diocese, we appreciate that the Body of Christ is made up of us all. In celebrating the dedication of the building, we are really celebrating the function of the space as the gathering place of the Church body.

  7. Ask a volunteer to read aloud the Gospel for this Sunday, John 2:13-22.

  8. Ask the young people if they have visited churches in other cities or other countries. Invite volunteers to share their experiences.

  9. Say: Wherever we go, as Catholics, we can enter a Catholic church and call it our home, because it is a place where we gather as God's family. As we celebrate the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, let's remember that we are called to live as members of the Body of Christ.

  10. Conclude by praying this Sunday's Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 46.


Gospel Reading
John 2:13-22
He spoke about the temple of his own body.


Family Connection

Families take pride in their homes and strive to keep them neat and clean inside and out. Talk as a family about the various chores that each family member has that contributes to the upkeep of the home. Thank each member for doing his or her chores and encourage everyone to take pride in the home. Explain that people's homes are a reflection of themselves and that a home that is clean and welcoming shows respect and hospitality. Point out that this Sunday, the Church celebrates one of its very special homes: the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. Explain that this basilica is the seat of the Bishop of Rome, the pope, and that, as we celebrate its dedication, we are reminded of the people the building represents: the pope and all God's people throughout the world. Read aloud this Sunday's Gospel, John 2:13-22. Say: When we celebrate the dedication of this great church, we are reminded of our own parish church where we gather to celebrate and, even more so, of our domestic church, our home, where we encounter God every day. Remind family members that when they are asked to do chores that contribute to the upkeep of the home, they are contributing to the upkeep of the domestic church.