WORD of the DAY
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another. (Mark 9: 50)
Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Polycarp who was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, nominated as Bishop of Smyrna (in Turkey today) where he received St. Ignatius of Antioch who was on his way to martyrdom in Rome. Together with Pope Aniceto, the date for Easter was agreed upon and thus was celebrated on the same day in the Eastern and Western Church. He was martyred at the age of 86, burned on a pyre.
The account attesting to his passion is the most ancient document on the cult of the martyrs. His prayer while being burned is like a prolongation of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. At the moment of his martyrdom he said, “I am 86 years old and I have served Christ all that time and He never did any harm to me: how can I curse my King and Savior?” He was termed by the pagans themselves as the Teacher of Asia, the father of Christians, the destroyer of our gods.
St. Polycarp was for his people the salt that flavored all of his pastoral ministry and a sublime example of fidelity to the Gospel of Christ even to the witness of martyrdom.
Lord, give me the strength to be your faithful witness after the example of St. Polycarp.
The voice of St. Polycarp
Follow the example of the Lord, strong and irreprehensible in the faith, full of love towards the brethren, charitable toward each other, united in truth, competing with one another in the meekness of the Lord, without despising anyone. Do not defer doing good when you can.