Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Football season is upon us and that means the general mode of dress is your favorite team’s jersey on game day. We all like to demonstrate our affiliations and alliances by means of t-shirts, pins, and the ever-present baseball caps. It would seem that those who don’t align themselves with the team colors are either totally clueless or from another part of the country. Even in Jesus’ time there were gladiatorial teams, and they too went by colors; red, green, white, and blue. And equal fervor accompanied these games so much so that the fights in arena fell a sorry second to the fights in the stands.
In today’s gospel Jesus states that that “everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.” Today we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose team color was the martyr’s red. He was on the losing side against the lions but on the winning side with Christ.
Christian persecution never ends. Even a cursory glance through the news illustrates how people throughout the Middle East are being persecuted and often killed for aligning themselves with the Christian side. Perhaps our feast day, our readings, and awareness of world events may encourage us to find ways on how we can identify ourselves in more public ways with the Christian team.