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November 9, 2018 - Foundation of Zeal

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Scripture Readings

We know Jesus got angry because of what we hear in today’s gospel as he formed a whip and drove of the money changers.  More often than not when I hear this story the focus seems drawn to the anger.  Especially in that people use it to justify their own anger.  Certainly Jesus’ actions reflect an anger that we should name as righteous.  Or as the scripture points out the action of driving out the money changers came out of a zeal that consumed Jesus.  Jesus’ desire was that disruption of the marketplace be removed from the temple.  Jesus still desires that everything within each of us, that leads us away from deeply practicing our faith, must be driven out.

In my family, my parents desire for us to practice our faith was so strong that there was no missing mass or religious education.  That was simply the way it was.  That my siblings and I would be faithful disciple was an imperative.  It was clear that the faith in which we were being formed was how we would eventually raise our own families.  We were another brick in a larger building that had Jesus the Christ, the Son of God as its foundation.  This construction project was a continuation of one began long before my parents, parents.  For my dad especially, our staying connect to this foundation insured his link to the building beyond this life, heaven.

For my siblings and I, the trouble arose when we were not as interested in staying connected to the foundation.  Often our discontent sounded like whining: “Do we really have to go to Church today?”  My dad whose love for his children was unconditional, was unmoved by the apparent cries of injustice.  His faith remained undimmed and his expectation of us was that we follow his example.  I can still remember shrinking in my pew because of the embarrassment of a parent who sang with so much zeal that the notes sounded as if they were amplified.  Ironically, it is the zeal with which I sing and practice my faith today. 

Fortunately for my family, we had a zealous example of a faithful disciple who was willing to challenge and hold us accountable.  This is why I had such an incredible foundation in faith.  From the outset, the steps of growing in faith seemed tedious and were sometimes accepted begrudgingly. Yet, in the perspective of time, the waters that spring forth in the sacrament of baptism along with the love showered by both our church and our families at home made us stronger disciples.  We too are part of Christ’s foundation that we celebrate in today’s feast.  

"Almighty God, we are grateful for Your Son who in so many ways modeled steadfast faith for us.  We thank you too for all those who have taught us to think, talk and act, like Christ.  Build up Your joy within us so that zeal for You will be the foundation of our lives, the way St. John Lateran was the foundation for Your whole Church."

- Deacon Michael Montgomery