Memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch

Before reading today’s Gospel (Luke 12: 8-12), Tony Worner acknowledges that today we also celebrate the Memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr.

Tony says these verses from Luke, complete the ‘spiritual transformation’ theme that has been part of the Gospel structure we’ve read over the last five days. We had the ‘outward religion’ subscribed to by the Pharisees rebuked by Jesus;  and yesterday and today we have Jesus addressing the disciples, reminding them that a day will come when the inner will be exposed. This is what the Pharisees don’t understand but Jesus is making sure that the disciples do – the inside matters very much.

While the last few verses of this text have caused much heart-searching by scholars, they do agree that the message is simple – it is through the gift of the Spirit that we will be saved. That the Spirit will come to revolutionize the lives of people into the image of Jesus.

Every time we board a plane, we put our trust in the pilot to guide us safely to our destination. Similarly, we place significant trust in doctors and nurses to care for us to have the correct treatment. So too, Jesus urges us to have this same trust in the Holy Spirit… don’t worry about how to defend yourself, or what to say, because when the time comes the Holy Spirit will teach you.

Interestingly the word “presence” is repeated three times in this reading to reinforce the message that entering into the presence of God changes all.

St Ignatius of Antioch, martyred around the year 107 CE, was one who knew this well. He was willing to be martyred rather than deny Jesus. He didn’t draw attention to his own suffering, but to the love of God which strengthened him. He knew the price of commitment and would not deny Christ, even to save his own life.

Tony invites us to pray, through the intercession of St Ignatius of Antioch…
Come, Holy Spirit, grant us wisdom, strength and perseverance, giving us the words needed to speak in defence of the faith. We ask this through Christ our teacher.