In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.Today is the memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch a Bishop of Antioch and a student of the Apostle John. While being taken to Rome to be martyred, Ignatius wrote a series of letters that are examples of the understandings of the earliest Christians. Important topics addressed in these letters include the sacraments, and the role of bishops.
Here is part of Ignatius' journey in his own words:
"From Syria, even to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated. —Ignatius to the Romans."
He in the arena martyred by two lions. The Roman authorities hoped to make an example of him and so discourage Christianity from spreading. Instead, he met with and encouraged Christians who flocked to greet him all along his route, and he wrote six letters to the churches in the region and one to a fellow bishop. He was the first to use the term "Catholic Church".
May the life and example of Ignatius and the words of the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans (1:16-17) give us courage to live our faith. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, 'The one who is righteous will live by faith.'"
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Lord help us to always be people who live by faith, love, forgiveness, peace and compassion, no matter how scary things get.
For courage, we pray:
Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.