Friday of the First Week of Lent

EZ 18:21-28, MT 5:20-26

In 107 St. Polycarp (c. 69 - 155) became bishop of Smyrna, which was one of the seven churches of Asia, mentioned by St. John in the Book of Revelation.  He was what is called the second generation of Christians, because he personally knew some, if not all of the first Christian leaders.   After all, St. John the Apostle was his teacher and he was a great friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who most likely was a disciple of John's as well.  When St. Polycarp was on the way to Rome to be martyred for the faith, Ignatius travelled to visit him. With St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers, a group acknowledged as leaders in the early Church, although their writings were not included in the New Testament.It would do us all well to try to live the heroic virtues of St. Polycarp, and to do our best to "be perfect, just as [our] heavenly Father is perfect." True perfection exists in Heaven.  Here on Earth we strive for perfection, struggling along the way, making mistakes, and learning and changing in the process, by the grace of God. 

Fr. Edward Vella, C.Ss.R.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022318.cfm
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