17 Oct – Memorial for St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop, martyr
St. Ignatius of Antioch (50-107) was a convert to Christianity from paganism. He succeeded Peter as bishop of Antioch, Syria, and served during the persecution of Domitian. During the persecution of Trajan, he was ordered to be taken to Rome to be killed by wild animals.
On the way, a journey which took months, he wrote a series of encouraging letters to the churches under his care. He was the first writer to use the term “the Catholic Church”.
An apostolic Father and a martyr, his name occurs in the “Nobis quoque peccatoribus” in the Canon of the Mass. Legend says that he was the infant that Jesus took into his arms in Mark 9.
– Patron Saint Index
So no matter who you are, if you pass judgement you have no excuse. It is yourself that you condemn when you judge others, since you behave in the same way as those you are condemning. We are well aware that people who behave like that are justly condemned by God. But you—when you judge those who behave like this while you are doing the same yourself—do you think you will escape God’s condemnation? Or are you not disregarding his abundant goodness, tolerance and patience, failing to realise that this generosity of God is meant to bring you to repentance? Your stubborn refusal to repent is only storing up retribution for yourself on that Day of retribution when God’s just verdicts will be made known. He will repay everyone as their deeds deserve. For those who aimed for glory and honour and immortality by persevering in doing good, there will be eternal life, but for those who out of jealousy have taken for their guide not truth but injustice, there will be the fury of retribution. Trouble and distress will come to every human being who does evil—Jews first, but Greeks as well; glory and honour and peace will come to everyone who does good—Jews first, but Greeks as well. There is no favouritism with God.
Jesus said, ‘But alas for you Pharisees, because you pay your tithe of mint and rue and all sorts of garden herbs and neglect justice and the love of God! These you should have practised, without neglecting the others. Alas for you Pharisees, because you like to take the seats of honour in the synagogues and to be greeted respectfully in the market squares! Alas for you, because you are like the unmarked tombs that people walk on without knowing it!’
A lawyer then spoke up. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘when you speak like this you insult us too.’ But he said, ‘Alas for you lawyers as well, because you load on people burdens that are unendurable, burdens that you yourselves do not touch with your fingertips.’
These days I feel judged, and with each judgement pronounced I feel more useless by the day. I also sense that God is showing me that I should be living by His Word, not the measures of the world which I struggle to match myself against.
The latter may seem trivial to some, but in prolonged periods of difficulty, there is no telling what one will do. Will we take the right path, easy path, or a strange path someone else has laid in front of us? Here in today’s readings, we read what appears to be instruction that is redundant to us. When the crunch comes and we have to make a choice between right and wrong, God’s words should be our reference for our decisions. All other measures will fall into nothing. The same goes when we feel discouraged, unloved, lost. Let us allow God to guide us with His Word today.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
Holy Spirit, be our Paraclete and remind us to act upon God’s Word. Let us experience Your love everyday so that we can live it.
Give thanks to the Lord for: His wisdom.
Thu, Oct 18 – 2 Timothy 4:10-17b; Luke 10:1-9; Feast of St. Luke, evangelist
Fri, Oct 19 – Romans 4:1-8; Luke 12:1-7; Memorial for St. Paul of the Cross, priest
Sat, Oct 20 – Romans 4:1-8; Luke 12:1-7
Sun, Oct 21 – Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:2; Luke 18:1-8; Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.