February 23, 2022

Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop, and Martyr

Growing up in a very Catholic family, my parents would frequently call our pastor to seek advice on a variety of issues. Usually, it was approval on a movie. Daisy Mae Scrag in L’il Abner was out of the question, but Boris Karloff in a horror film was okay. I remember our neighbor was getting married in the Episcopal church, and dad called the pastor for approval. The answer was no to the ceremony, but the reception was okay. I was devastated and confused, suddenly concerned about the souls of my non-Catholic friends.

Maturity and the gift of Vatican II changed views. I no longer believed that non-Catholics would burn in hell, and I began to see in others the face of Jesus that I knew as loving, kind, and merciful. No matter our religious beliefs, we worship and love the same God.

In today’s gospel, John is complaining to Jesus that someone was driving out demons in Jesus’ name. The response, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”

We celebrate the Memorial of Saint Polycarp, who refused to deny Jesus. His refusal to deny Jesus resulted in his being burned and stabbed to death. Saint Polycarp believed that there was one answer, to be true to the life of Jesus and to imitate that life.

The gift of the Eucharist is intended to unite us, not separate, or place us above other believers and non-believers. Sharing in this gift of himself to us, we put ourselves at the service of the Kingdom, fulfilling the words of the Apostle: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

When we receive the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist and pray in adoration, are we being true to the life of Jesus and imitating him?

Closing Prayer

Help our Church, merciful One, to be a light for unity within itself and a beacon of hope for all humanity. We ask this through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns as one God forever and ever. Amen. (Taken from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022)


Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Patty Pizzitola

Patty is an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament at Corpus Christi Parish in Houston TX.