Today’s Gospel: Luke 11:42-46 – St. Ignatius of Antioch
“I am the wheat of the Lord; may I be ground by the teeth of the beasts to become the immaculate bread of Christ.” So wrote St. Ignatius of Antioch as he was being carted to his martyrdom in Rome. Our faith is no fun fair. To paraphrase another far more recent source, anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.
In today’s gospel, Jesus points out how the Pharisees and scholars of the law are eager to demand that others fulfill all the requirements of the law, but are themselves just as eager to avoid the law’s challenges. I’ve seen people use this passage when trying to say that the Catholic faith is impossible to follow, and anyone who expects anyone to live as a faithful, obedient Catholic is another Pharisee, another hypocrite, demanding a hard life of others but a sunny herb garden for themselves.
Funny how they seem to overlook Jesus saying, “You pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others.” Yes, the little things matter, but so do the big things. If you try to do all the small things so you can get away without doing the big things, or vice versa, Jesus makes it plain: you are like an unseen grave. There is death inside you — unseen, but still death.
We must not look to hypocrites to devalue what God asks of us. God gives us plenty of solid heroes, like St. Ignatius of Antioch, who practiced what they preached, even if it meant their lives. So should it be for us. We can only become the immaculate bread of Christ under pressure.
What are some ways that Jesus’ law of love challenges my comfort and self-interest?
Jesus, through the intercession of St. Ignatius of Antioch, give me the courage and strength to be all that You made me to be, in all ways — the big and the small.
Copyright 2018 Erin McCole Cupp
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