October 17 Saint Ignatius of Antioch

Saint of the Day for October 17

(d. c. 107)

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Saint Ignatius of Antioch’s Story

Born in Syria, Ignatius converted to Christianity and eventually became bishop of Antioch. In the year 107, Emperor Trajan visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. Ignatius would not deny Christ and thus was condemned to be put to death in Rome.

Ignatius is well known for the seven letters he wrote on the long journey from Antioch to Rome. Five of these letters are to churches in Asia Minor; they urge the Christians there to remain faithful to God and to obey their superiors. He warns them against heretical doctrines, providing them with the solid truths of the Christian faith.

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Bishop Robert Barron

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus says, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Some religious leaders get their kicks from burdening people, laying the law on them heavily, making demands that are terrible, exulting in their own moral superiority. At the core of Jesus’ program is a willingness to bear other people’s burdens, to help them carry their loads. And this applies to the moral life as well. If we lay the burden of God’s law on people, we must be willing, at the same time, to help them bear it.

When were you cured by Christ and how? What was it like to receive, through the Church, his healing touch? When did you feel ostracized, despised, unworthy—and how did Christ, through his Church, restore you to health and communion? Remember that moment and share it.

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