October 17, 2017

Ignatius of Antioch

October 17, 2017:  St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

See 15 connections with today?
Legend below
For Psalm 19
For Psalm 34
Pope Francis homily
Jesus calls the Pharisees fools, as does Paul call the pagans and the Galatian Christians duped by “new ideas.”  The word is a signal, for foolishness leads to corruption.  Jesus told the doctors of the law they resembled whitewashed sepulchres; they worried only about external beauty, not internal corruption.  The pagans had the corruption of idolatry; they exchanged God's glory for idols.  People hold idolatries today:  consumerism, looking for a comfortable god, selling yourself to ideologies, even becoming an “ideologue of Christianity”; they all end up corrupt.
Folly is a form of not listening.  If I don't listen to the Word, I don't let it in and hearken to it.  Fools believe they're listening but aren't; they do their own thing, so God's word and love can't enter, or it enters distilled, transformed by my conception of reality.  Fools' deafness leads to corruption; there's no place for love or freedom.  They become slaves, exchange truth for lies, and worship creatures, not the Creator.
Do I listen to God?  Do I let his word in?  His word is alive and effective, revealing the heart's feelings and thoughts.  Do I transform his word into appearance, idolatry, or ideology?  Today there are foolish Christians, even foolish shepherds, but the Lord is knocking and waiting.  If we fall into stupidity, we move away from him, and he weeps for us whom he chose and loved....

  • Rom 1:16-25  The Gospel is God's power for the salvation of all believers; it reveals God's justice.  God's wrath is being revealed against the wicked.  Since he created the world,his divinity could be seen and understood in what he made.  They have no excuse:  though they knew God, they didn't give him glory but became fools exchanging God's glory for an image of a man or animal.  So God handed them over to impurity through their lusts; they exchanged truth for a lie and worshiped creature rather than creator.
  • Ps 19:2-5  "The heavens proclaim the glory of God" and his handiwork.  Every word is heard; their message resounds to the ends of the world.
  • Lk 11:37-41 Jesus to Pharisee who saw he hadn't washed:  “You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish but are filled with plunder and evil inside.  Fools!  Give alms, and everything will be clean for you.”
Wordle: Readings 10-17-14 Ignatius
  • Phil 3:17-4:1  Imitate me; stand firm.  We're citizens of heaven; Christ will change our body to conform with his.
  • Ps 34:2-9  "The Lord delivered me from all my fears."  Praise God always.  Look to him; be radiant.  He saved me, saves all who fear him.  Taste and see Lord's goodness; take refuge.
  • Jn 12:24-26  If a wheat grain dies, it produces fruit; otherwise it's just a grain.  If you love life, lose it.  To serve me, follow me; Father will honor you.
St. Ignatius of Antioch

Universalis:  2nd bishop of Antioch after St. Peter; wrote letters about Christ, Church structure, and Christian life.  Arrested, sentenced to death, thrown to wild beasts in the arena; described soldiers escorting him as like “ten leopards, who when they are kindly treated only behave worse.”  See also New Advent.
Today's patristic reading is the famous excerpt from his letter to the Romans; look below "I am God's wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild animals." Here's the whole letter, context, and more, also from Universalis.
  • Creighton:  The world often focuses on the superficial, but it's what's inside that counts.  family. We work to make things look good on the outside, but we don’t focus on the foundation, what’s inside.  The Pharisee is surprised to see Jesus not washing.  Jesus rebukes him:  you haven't cleaned the cup and dish if you just clean the outside but the inside is filled with evil.  If we're not clean inside, no matter how good we look on the outside, we're not fooling God, others, or even ourselves.  But Jesus accepts us, broken as we are.  We have to look inside even if we don’t like what’s there.  We can let God in to fill inner darkness with light.  May we open our hearts to God so we may show his love on the outside.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Ashamed of mercy?"  Are we embarrassed that the guilty when they repent and sin no more receive mercy and eternal life instead of the punishment they deserve?  "There's no condemnation for those in Christ" can look unfair.  People scream for punishment even before a trial; victims cry for restitution; lawyers press for damages. Jesus our Justice handles all parties' demands for justice, and "God is rich in mercy" and repays damages. Jesus receives the punishment in place of sinners and pours out mercy on both sinner and victim.  Our role is to beg Jesus for mercy and justice.  We can't do his job; his ways are beyond ours.  The demands of mercy and justice are no problem for Jesus, who is Mercy and Justice incarnate.
    Unless a grain of wheat...
  • Passionist:  Hints of God are all around.  God, who longs to be in relationship with us, finds ways to communicate with us:  through Jesus, other persons, creation....  We're created to give God glory and praise.  I can put something else at the center of my life, but that's self-destructive.  Jesus’ chastises the Pharisees for getting caught up with the wrong things, worrying more about externals than their hearts.  What do we give undue attention to, thus losing sight of the truly important?  What really matters is love and justice to the poor....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Give alms from within":  At dinner, Jesus offended his host by not washing his hands, then chided the Pharisees for harboring thoughts that made them unclean of heart.  When we give to the needy, we express love and mercy, and if we're full of that, there's no room for envy, greed, or bitterness.  May we allow God's love to transform our heart, mind, and actions towards others.
Dress legend
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  They claimed to be wise... (1st reading)
  • 'Bird,' 'lion,' 'snake' pins:  ...but exchanged God's glory for an image of a man, bird, 4-legged animal, or snake (1st reading)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts (1st reading)
  • 'Olympics' pin:  Through all the earth their voice resounds, and to the ends of the world, their message (psalm)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Pharisee invited Jesus to dine (gospel)
  • 'Cups and dishes' tie:  “You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you're filled with evil.” (gospel)
  • 'John's Jokers' tie (trumped by above):  They became fools (1st reading); "You fools!" (gospel)
  • 'Blood drop' pin, red shirt:  Martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Antioch
  • Crucifix:  Redemption in Christ Jesus, savior, whom God set forth as an expiation, by his blood (feast 1st reading)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  "Unless a grain of wheat dies..." (feast gospel); St. Ignatius, wheat of Christ
  • 'Lion' pin:  St. Ignatius ground by beasts (feast)

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