Saturday, February 23, 2008
St. Polycarp, Bishop, Martyr, Early Church Father
Polycarp was a bishop and martyr in the early Church. He was a disciple of the apostle John and a good friend of Bishop Ignatius of Antioch. Polycarp was martyred in 155 and is one of the early Fathers of the Church. We have an account of his martyrdom.
The readings for today's liturgy are good to use to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, something we should be thinking about in Lent. The first reading is from the Prophet Michah: "Shepherd your people...
Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, and will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins. . ."
The Psalm response is The Lord is kind and merciful.
I love the lines from the Psalm 103 that again can be used to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation: "He pardons all your iniquities, he heals your ills, He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion."
The Gospel has the Prodigal Son living in such miserable conditions after his life of dissipation that he determines to go home to his father and say, "Father, I have sinned..." The Father is waiting, looking for his son and runs to embrace him and celebrates his return. I am sure this is what happens each time we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.