Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch Theophoros, bishop and martyr of the early Church. Saint Ignatius succeeded Saint Peter as the second bishop of Antioch after the latter moved on to become the first Bishop of Rome. Soon enough, he followed Peter again in Rome, this time to receive in turn the glorious palm of martyrdom.
In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us that unless the grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it shall remain but a single grain of wheat. However, he adds, if it falls and dies, it bears much fruit.
Saint Ignatius too, compared himself to the grain of wheat who is Christ. On his way to Rome, he wrote: "I offer myself as wheat, to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become the pure bread of Christ."
Today is also the 10th death anniversary of Richard Michael R. Fernando, SJ. Bro. Richie died shielding a troubled student, who brought a grenade to the technical school for landmine victims operated by the Jesuits in Cambodia, from the violence he had wrought. By giving his life, Richie gave new life to that student and to many others who continue to be moved and inspired by his example of courage and sacrifice.
We too, like Saint Ignatius and also like Bro. Richie, if we offer ourselves to Christ, partaking in his passion and death, can become Eucharist-broken bread and wine outpoured for the life of the world. Then, if we die with Christ, we shall be able to give life to others and have also for ourselves through him, life and life to the full.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us!