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Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr



Reading 1 Rom 1:16-25

Brothers and sisters: I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek. For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, "The one who is righteous by faith will live." The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.


REFLECTION


St. Ignatius of Antioch was known as Ignatius Theophoros which is Greek and means "God Bearer." Ignatius was a theologian who laid the groundwork for the early Catholic Church. He was consecrated by the First Pope, St. Peter as Bishop of Antioch in 69 AD and corresponded with St. John the Apostle and the Blessed Mother Mary. He was beloved by the early Christians and respected for his defense of the "right teaching and right practice" during a crucial time of the formation of the early Church.


He was arrested and traveled to his martyrdom in Rome. As he traveled he wrote 7 letters to the early Churches so that they would receive the clear and concise teachings of the Apostles which was given to them by Jesus Christ. St. Ignatius even delivered his letters to the churches he visited on his way to Rome. He was a holy man of God who became a "living letter of Jesus Christ."


Ignatius warned the early Catholic Church to be aware of false doctrines and false teachers and to stay obedient to the bishop in religious matters. He sided with the bishop because of his concern that the doctrine that Jesus Christ is man and also God, might be misinterpreted or misunderstood. He thought that union with the bishop in belief and worship means union with Christ. This is why he was the first to use the term "catholic church which meant the whole church that is one and the same wherever there is a Christian congregation."


St. Ignatius of Antioch was truly a "God-bearer." He wanted to bring the early church the "Truth" the pure and uncorrupted teachings of Christ. He did not want them to become those who "... exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever.


Finally in 110 AD, St. Ignatius of Antioch reached Rome and was put into a den of lions where he was brutally devoured.


Let us pray for the priests, bishops, cardinals, and the Pope to stay faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and to guide the faithful in the Truth. Here is the PAPA Prayer for Priests.

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