Today is the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
Following a dispute about the divinity of Christ brought about by the Arian heresy, (that claimed that Jesus was a creature not divine), the Council of Ephesus in 431 formally proclaimed that Mary was the “Mother of God”.
This was to emphasise that Jesus was not only truly human, but also truly God.
The Church of St. Mary Major on the Esquiline Hill in Rome was built shortly afterwards. It is the oldest church in Western Europe dedicated to Our Lady.
In Jesus, God truly became one of us, so that we can be truly one with God.
This God, beyond all words and descriptions, more awesome than this awesome universe, became Jesus and in Him we can best know something about the mystery of God. In fact, He is the best way of knowing God.
Jesus also reveals to us God’s desire of a deep union of love and intimacy with us. In Jesus, we share in the inner life of God.
Christian Baptism invites us, connects us, into the inner life of the Blessed Trinity. This highlights the dignity and sacredness of the human person. Hence, we are Baptised in
THE NAME OF THE FATHER,
and of THE SON,
and of THE HOLY SPIRIT.
We are also reminded in this feast that Mary is Mother of the Church, she is a role model for us of faith and trust in God.
When we remember the dedication of a church building, we are reminded of Christ.
The church building is the place where the Christian community gathers.
The Christian community is the “MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST.” We are the special presence of Christ in the world.
So, when we celebrate the dedication of a church building, we are celebrating a lot more than stone and other building materials.
We celebrate Christ gathering us together to celebrate Eucharist. We are strengthened in faith, and sent forth to proclaim the goodness of God out there in the world around us.
All these themes come together as we focus and celebrate the many blessings that our faith gives us.