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Bible reflection: ‘I will send them prophets and apostles’

James O'Brien  |  14 October 2019

Gospel for Thursday 17 October 2019
Luke 11:47-54
‘The Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles”’

Jesus said: ‘Alas for you who build the tombs of the prophets, the men your ancestors killed! In this way you both witness what your ancestors did and approve it; they did the killing, you do the building.

‘And that is why the Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles; some they will slaughter and persecute, so that this generation will have to answer for every prophet’s blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary.” Yes, I tell you, this generation will have to answer for it all.

‘Alas for you lawyers who have taken away the key of knowledge! You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to.’

When he left the house, the scribes and the Pharisees began a furious attack on him and tried to force answers from him on innumerable questions, setting traps to catch him out in something he might say.


  • Who were the biblical prophets?
  • Why is being a prophet such a dangerous occupation?
  • What disposition do we need to develop in order to hear the prophets in our midst?
  • Today is the feast of St Ignatius of Antioch, a bishop and martyr. What are the characteristics of a martyr of the faith?
  • Do you believe the martyrs’ radical discipleship in life and in death commends faith to their society?
  • Where have you seen martyrdom occur in more recent times? What seeds did the martyrs sow?

Reflection from

St Ignatius Of Antioch
Romans 3:21-30. Psalm 129(130):1-6. Luke 11:47-54.
With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption – Psalm 129(130):1-6
‘The Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles”’

Today is the feast of St Ignatius of Antioch, a first century bishop and martyr. Ignatius was a key witness to the basic elements of the faith, especially the centrality of the Eucharist and the role of the local bishop as a source of unity and leadership. His steadfast proclamation of the Gospel led to his martyrdom.

In the gospel, Jesus reminds us that the persecution of prophets and apostles is a reality when people are closed to the Good News. While Jesus addresses the hypocrisy of the leaders and lawyers, his words remind us that we can all drift into such hypocrisy and be deaf to the prophets in our midst.

Lord Jesus, you are the way to life. You are the source of all consolation. Be for us a companion for our days. Send forth your Holy Spirit to anoint all those who call upon your name today.


Image: Old engravings. Depicts Saint Ignatius of Antioch’s martyr’s death


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