Saturday, October 17, 2015 ~ Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Holy Gospel: Luke 12:8-12 Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”
Meditation: If someone repeatedly closes his or her heart to God and shuts their ear to his voice, they come to a point where they can no longer recognize God even when God makes his word and presence known to them. Such a person ends up perceiving evil as good and good as evil (Isaiah 5:20). To fear such a sin, however, signals that one is not dead to God and is conscious of the need for God’s merciful help and strength. There are no limits to the mercy of God, but we can reject his mercy by refusing to ask God’s pardon for our wrongdoing and by refusing to accept the help he gives us to turn away from sin and from whatever would keep us from doing his will. God gives sufficient grace (his favor and mercy towards us) and he gives sufficient help (his wisdom and strength) to all who humbly call upon him. Giving up on God and refusing to turn away from sin and disbelief results from our own sinful pride, stubborn will, and the loss of hope in God’s promises. God never turns a deaf ear to those who seek his help and listen to his voice – his words of hope, of pardon, and of deliverance.
Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who adorn the sacred body of your Church with the confessions of holy Martyrs, grant, we pray, that, just as the glorious passion of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, which we celebrate today, brought him eternal splendor, so it may be for us unending protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: The final journey of Ignatius from Antioch to Rome is worth contemplating, as it was like a nuptial procession and a Way of the Cross. The letters he wrote along the way resemble seven stations of the Cross; they may also be called seven nuptial hymns overflowing with the saint’s intense love for Christ Jesus and his longing to be united with Him. These letters are seven most precious jewels in the heirloom bequeathed to us by the Church of sub-apostolic times. In one letter he writes: “From Syria to Rome I must do battle with beasts on land and sea. For day and night I am chained to ten leopards, that is, the soldiers who guard me and grow more ferocious the better they are treated. Their mistreatment is good instruction for me, yet am I still far from justified. Oh, that I may meet the wild beasts now kept in readiness for me. I shall implore them to give me death promptly and to hasten my departure. I shall invite them to devour me so that they will not leave my body unharmed as already has happened to other witnesses. If they refuse to pounce upon me, I shall impel them to eat me. My little children, forgive me these words. Surely I know what is good for me. From things visible I no longer desire anything; I want to find Jesus. Fire and cross, wild beasts, broken bones, lacerated members, a body wholly crushed, and Satan’s every torment, let them all overwhelm me, if only I reach Christ.”
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.