Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

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Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
everyone who acknowledges me before others
the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others
will be denied before the angels of God.

I wonder how this applies today? What is it today to acknowledge Christ, where is He proclaimed? How is this quote fulfilled in todays landscape, and what is its relevance in todays culture? Do Christians today view there culture as a Christian culture, or post-Christian culture? There are many that acknowledge Christ ,yet really follow someone else. Many who cry for Christ do so for the numbers, it is the demographics they seek. Many today who deny Christ today do so for the same reason as Christianity does not have the popularity it once enjoyed, and everyone seeks popularity.

Think of the prophets of culture, the prophets of Hollywood movies. Gods representative, old and bearded preaching follow the Lord on a corner with a dog-eared placard and a rickety shopping cart for a chariot. An acknowledged lunatic. And the Hollywood villain dressed in a pinstripe suit in a penthouse suite. “Whoever acknowledges me before others” is not always that easy. Along the path there are many branches and a pitchman for each. They all scream “follow me” and some even do so in the name of Christ. How does one know.

In thinking of those screaming in our time, might we do better by reminiscing about those who spoke before us? One of the early bearded spokesmen of the Church was Saint Ignatius, bishop of Antioch (59 AD). Hollywood got its imagery from somewhere, and for many viewers Ignatius would appear more muddied downtrodden pauper than prince. He traveled on foot from Antioch to Rome to be executed for his Christian faith.

On that journey he met with many from the early Christian church. In meeting with them , he continued to encourage those early Christians. Ignatius also encouraged them to build up their Churches. He encouraged them to continue to acknowledge Christ. Ignatius composed seven letters to be delivered to the early churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Aydın, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna.  Ignatius’s letters were not about his life, but about the life of Christ’s church. In these letters he discussed theology, sacraments, and the role of bishops. On 20 December of the year 107 AD, Ignatius was thrown to the lions at the Roman Coliseum.

Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 472: Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

 

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