Friday, October 17, 2008
There Is No Need To Be Afraid (LK12:1-7)
Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was the third Bishop of Antioch, the city in which followers of Jesus were first called Christians. He lived in the first century and under the Roman Emperor Trajen and was condemned to death. He was brought to Rome and in the amphitheater he was fed to two lions. On his journey to Rome he wrote 6 letters to various local churches and one to St. Polycarp. In his letter to he begged the Church to not try and get his death sentence pardoned but to let him die a martyrs death for Christ. He knew he was going to be fed to the lions yet he was unafraid. This could be for us today a nice and even heroic story from our history. It is a beautiful example of the strong faith of the early Church but has no bearing on our lives today. In thinking this we are wrong. No we are not being dragged to Rome to be eaten by lions, but we can look more closely at St. Ignatius to understand how he could be so heroic and strong in his faith. He wrote these words in one of his letters, "I hunger for the bread of God, the flesh of Jesus Christ, born of David's seed; I long to drink of his blood, the gift of his unending love." It is in the Eucharist that he found his strength to live his life as a Christian and to die a martyrs death. A death that was ferocious in its violence and vulgar in its aftermath. He was not only killed by lions but then eaten by them. Yet he was unafraid for he knew the unending love of Jesus in the Eucharist. This then is how his martyrdom can impact our lives today. It should draw us closer to the Eucharist that we too may enter into and know the Unending Love of Our Lord Jesus. That we too may be strengthened and sustained in our lives as Christians. That we too can know deep in our hearts There Is No Need To Be Afraid.