Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, B.M., (17th October, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Tuesday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Ps 18:2-5. (R.v.2);
Saint Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35 – c. 108), was an Apostolic Father, student of the Apostle John, and the third bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome for his martyrdom, he wrote seven letters to different Christian communities in which he discussed among other topics, ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops. Saint Ignatius was the first to use the term “catholic” to describe the whole Church. He was martyred during the reign of Emperor Trajan, because he refused to renounce the Christian faith and was brutally devoured by wild beasts in a public spectacle.
Topic: Beyond materials.
Whenever we hear or speak of charity, minds often go to material things alone. And as a result, many have judged themselves incapable of being charitable. However, in today’s gospel, Jesus shows us another dimension.
A Pharisee was amazed seeing Jesus sat at the table in his house without first washing His hands according to the tradition. He said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.... So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.”
The within Jesus demands that we give for alms what it holds has also what defiles, cf. Matt 15:11, 18; Mk 7:20. Jesus is telling us that God demands much more than the material things. We ought to be charitable with all we have. Again, everybody has something to offer. Find out what you have and be aware that God demands you to be charitable with all.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch preferred Jesus to every other thing. This is summarised in his words, “I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.” What about you? Remember those things we find very difficult letting go will one day either leave us or we leave them. Be wise!
Bible Reading: Matt 15:10-20.
Thought for today: God demands everything.
Let us pray: Lord, help us to be charitable with everything you blessed us with – Amen.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch – Pray for us.
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