From the Pastor
28th Sunday in
Ordinary Time – A
October 15, 2017
This week we honor a man born in AD 50, who died in Rome in AD 107; multiple ancient sources say he was ordained a Bishop by the laying on of hands from one, if not more of the Apostles, perhaps even Saint Peter! When the Emperor Trajan ordered all Christians to join in pagan rites, Saint Ignatius of Antioch
refused. As Trajan travelled through Antioch, he personally sentenced Ignatius to death and ordered that – as a warning to other non-conformists – he be brought to Rome and fed to wild lions in the Roman Colosseum.
On his 2,000-mile trek to Rome, Saint Ignatius wrote at least seven letters that still exist, records of his talks with the Bishops and people he met along the way. His writings counter many claims made by Protestant Reformers, for he wrote that – back in the early 100’s – the Church understood that her threefold hierarchy of Bishop, Priest and Deacon – which she already had – was instituted by Christ. He also attests to the Church’s unity under her Bishops; the Sacraments, especially the one he called the ‘Blessed Sacrament;’ the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, as Saint Peter’s successor; and doctrines on Matrimony, papal infallibility, and other dogmas. Here are his orations.
Collect – Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
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 … and ever. Amen.
Since he was violently mauled to death by lions, he is usually depicted with wild beasts about to devour him. But with all due respect, while his final moments were horrific … they were mercifully quick. Since the 4th Century, he has been honored on October 17
for his real feats: his valiant heroism, staunch determination and unwavering fidelity to Christ and His Church. Are we as devoted and true to our Catholic Faith?
Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Ignatius of Antioch
May this oblation and our homage
be pleasing to you, O Lord, just as you accepted Saint Ignatius, the wheat of Christ, made pure bread through his martyrdom and passion.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Is it mere coincidence – or divine providence – that Saint Ignatius of Antioch – the 3rd Bishop of the city of which the Bible says, “it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians” [Acts 11:26c]
– was also that first known person to call Christians ‘Catholic?‘ So those who say we created the term ‘Catholic’ during or after the Protestant Reformation are mistaken. He called us ‘Catholic’ – which means ‘universal’ – since by Saint Ignatius’ time, it was no longer questioned if Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, circumcised or uncircumcised, could become Christian. ALL were welcome – from every land or nation, culture or language, way of life or socio-economic level – to join the Church. Thus, he gave us the title ‘Catholic’ – which was a radically new idea in that time of history!
Prayer after Communion – Saint Ignatius of Antioch
May the heavenly Bread we have received,
O Lord, on the feast day of Saint Ignatius
renew us, we pray, and make us
Christians in name and in deed.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
TO BECOME BREAD FOR THE WORLD. I doubt, thank God, we will have to be torn apart and eaten alive by wild animals to enter heaven. But we must imitate Saint Ignatius of Antioch’s
willingness to totally give of ourselves in service to others. As he said, “May I imitate my suffering God; I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ.” Do we ‘become Eucharist’ – become the presence of our suffering God, amidst life’s sorrows and struggles? Do we allow ourselves to be ‘used’ – ‘worn down’ – or even ‘devoured’ by those who need us – by giving of ourselves so as to be the presence of Christ to them and for them? Saint Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us.
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS