Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

Eph 1:15-23; Ps 8:2,3ab, 4-7; Lk 12:8-12

That the LORD would have foes is an amazing thought.  Who would dare?  His Name is glorious over all the earth.  His majesty is exalted above the heavens.  Even babies and sucklings have nothing but praise for the LORD.  Every sound these tiny ones utter is for the glory of the LORD.  Even those sounds, that summon moms and dads to loving and immediate service, give praise to the LORD.  All the heavens are the work of his fingers; the LORD set all the night glory in it place.  In the face of such wonders who are we?  Why should the Creator of heaven and earth even take notice of us?  There is only one reason.  We are loved.  We are made in his image and likeness.  He sees and loves in us what he sees and loves in his Son—his Eternal Son—made man and dwelling among us.  Indeed, we have been made a little less than the angels, and crowned with glory and honor.  Such is the glory and honor of being called to unity with his Son and in the Spirit.  Indeed, we have been given a share in the rule of the Son of God.  Indeed, the LORD has put all things under his feet even the waters of chaos.  Like Saint Peter, we are called to come to the One Who Walks Upon the Waters.  Such is our dignity; this is the truth of who we are and whose we are in Christ the LORD.  Saint Paul instructs our ancestors in the faith with such awe and wonder that his letter to the Ephesians sounds like we are overhearing a prayer.  The Lord Jesus reassures us even as he strengthened his disciples that we have the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and we have nothing to fear.


Saint Paul prays for his children in the Spirit.  He prays for us.  We too need to receive from the Father of glory and from his Son a spirit of wisdom and revelation.  Such a spirit is none other than the Holy Spirit who alone introduces us to the Lord Jesus in the very depths of our hearts.  We need eyes that enlighten our hearts so that we can hope when all optimism and enthusiasm is dead and gone.  With eyes of faith we can see the surpassing greatness of God’s power raising the Lord Jesus from the dead and sitting at the right hand of glory in heaven.  There the Lord Jesus in his humanity has received the very dignity and greatness of the Father that he already shared in his divinity.  This vision of the risen and ascended Lord Jesus is a glimpse of our future glory.  We have been summoned to this union with Christ.  We no longer live; it is Christ who lives in us.  Indeed, we have been hidden with Christ in God.  Our citizenship is in heaven; we are no longer limited to this world.  We are a part of His Body, the Church.  Indeed, we are the ones who fill all things in every way.  The LORD Christ fills the universe with his Body, and we are the members of his Body.


If we forget who we are, we will deny the Lord Jesus before others.  Such forgetfulness will lead to our not being acknowledged before the angels of God.  This teaching becomes even more severe when the Lord Jesus continues, “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”  What is this great blasphemy?  Perhaps it is the willful denial that we can be forgiven.  Perhaps there are some who foolishly think in their hearts that they have so grievously offended the LORD that even He cannot forgive them.  To deny the Holy Spirit access to our hearts so that he might give us the grace to repent and believe the Good News is to close off all hope for new life, mercy or kindness.  Such is the despair of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps this great sin is the refusal to accept the future Body of Christ who comes in and through his disciples and missionaries.  It is only the Holy Spirit who authenticates this witness.  To deny Christ evokes his mercy, but to deny the Spirit revokes his mercy.  However, those who do welcome the Holy Spirit have nothing to fear.  Even when we are summoned before religious or civil authority, we have nothing to fear.  What we are to say and when we are to say it will be given us from deep within our Spirit-filled hearts.  This Holy Spirit hovers over us whenever we are in communion with the Body and Blood of Christ.  This Holy Spirit breathes in us even as we cry out Abba, Father.  We have nothing to fear.