HOMILY FOR THE MEMORIAL OF ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH.
THEME: OUR RESPONSE TO THE GIFT OF FAITH.
BY: Fr Francis Onwunali.
HOMILY FOR MONDAY OCTOBER 17 2022.
The Church today celebrates the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr (50- 107 AD). He was one of the great bishops and Apostolic fathers of the early Church. Ignatius was the successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death by wild beast during the Emperor Trajan’s persecution. On his way to Rome, he wrote seven magnificent letters, which we still have today, concerning the Person of Christ, his love for Christ, his desire for martyrdom and on the constitution of the Church and Christian life. He was the first to use the term “the Catholic Church” in his writings. His sentiments before his approaching martyrdom are summed in his word in communion antiphon, “I am the wheat of Christ, ground by the teeth of beasts to become pure bread”.
Today, as we step into a new working week we are being reminded through the readings that we do not earn our salvation but it is given to us as gift. The things we think we have ammased which are transitory can easily fissile away and we are left with nothing.
St. Paul while writing to the Ephesians in the first reading (Eph 2: 1-10) reminds them that their relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ is based on faith which comes to us as gift from God.
Nothing we do, by itself, can earn us our salvation but the gift of faith which emanates from God’s love, saves us. God’s love and mercy surpass all our sinfulness. We are being called to respond to this gift of faith by living in imitation of Jesus Christ in selfless giving.
Jesus Christ in the gospel (Luke 12: 13-21) warns against greed. Material possession or accumulation does not guarantee joy, fulfilment nor salvation. Whatever material gifts that are entrusted to us are meant to be used in service and upliftment of other people.
Dear friends, remember the words of Christ: “As often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it to me” (Mtt 25: 40). Whatever we have been gifted with is meant not to be selfishly guard, but to be used in service of others. Do I live a detached life or do I cling tenaciously to material things, fame and positions?
I pray as we journey in life today, let us not offend our Lord through selfishness or lack of love for others; for to wound the poor or one another, is to wound God. As with God’s gift, let us in faith be gracious to others. As we reach out, may we also receive help and be blessed, wherever in our lives and when needed. Have a blessing-full day!