Gospel: Lk 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance.” He replied, “My friend, who has appointed me as your judge or your attorney?” Then Jesus said to the people, “Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life.”
And Jesus continued, “There was a rich man, and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought, ‘What shall I do, for I am short of room to store my harvest? Alright, I know what I shall do: I will pull down my barns and I will build bigger ones, to store all this grain, which is my wealth. Then I will say to myself: My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you. Tell me, who shall get all you have put aside?’ This is the lot of the one who stores up riches for himself and is not wealthy in the eyes of God.”
The saint we are remembering today is particularly interesting for various reasons.
First, although he is one of the earliest figures of the Church, we know more about him than we know about much later saints.
Second, according to Eusebius, the first historian of the Church, Ignatius was probably the third bishop of Antioch, namely, the second bishop of that city after the apostle Peter (Hist. Eccl. 3:22).
Third, under the reign of Emperor Trojan (98-117), he was condemned to death for his faith and ordered to be taken to Rome, there to be eaten alive by wild beasts.
Fourth, during his journey to Rome, Ignatius wrote 7 letters to various churches. These give interesting information about the Christian faith at that time.
Fifth, the Christians of Rome having planned to have his sentence reduced, Ignatius pleaded with them to let him die as a martyr. To them he wrote: “I am the wheat of Christ, ground by the teeth of beasts to become pure bread.” He died probably in 107 A.D.
This great man continues to inspire us today, twenty centuries after his death, like a star whose light reaches us after the star has burned out.