HOMILY FOR SATURDAY, 28TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME   (Memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop & Martyr)

HOMILY FOR SATURDAY, 28TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME   (Memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop & Martyr)

EPHESIANS 1:15-23; PSALM 8; LUKE 12:8-12

The Spirit currently convicts the unsaved world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). To resist that conviction and willfully remain unrepentant is to “blaspheme” the Spirit. Jesus says “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” To blaspheme is to speak with disrespect about God. Blasphemy is verbal or written rebuke of God’s name, character, work, or attributes. It is the lack of reverence for sacred objects, or toward something considered sacred or sacrosanct. Blasphemy was a serious crime in the Old Testament. In Lev. 24:10–16, the man who blasphemed God’s name was stoned to death. In the New Testament, Jesus says such a person will not be forgiven.

How are we guilty of this sin today?  In 1 Tim 1:20 Paul explains that he had abandoned two false teachers to Satan so they would “be taught not to blaspheme”; thus, promulgating false doctrine and leading God’s people astray is also a form of blasphemy. Whenever we bear false witness, we damage God’s reputation. No forgiveness; why? No forgiveness for this sin because forgiveness is found exclusively in Jesus (John 3:16). To reject the only Savior is to be left with no means of salvation; to reject the only pardon is, obviously, unpardonable. So, Jesus says “whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.” In John 3:36 Jesus says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him”.

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was born in Syria in the middle of the first century A.D., he was instructed by the Apostle Saint John. His writings together with other Early Church Fathers defined the sacramental and hierarchical nature of the Church. He became the Bishop of Antioch around the year 70. Before his death, he wrote seven letters wherein he passionately stressed the importance of Church unity, the dangers of heresy, and the surpassing importance of the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality.” St. Ignatius bore witness to Christ publicly for the last time in Rome’s Flavian Amphitheater, where he was mauled to death by lions. Through his intercession we pray for the grace of sincerity in our faith as Christians. Amen.

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Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria. He was ordained October 20th, 2018. He offers his daily homilies, talks and articles that bother on, faith, theology, morals and many other burning issues in religion and politics. Fr. Daniel writes poems, inspirational quotes and clips.