Several days ago I posted about the passing of Sr. Diana Ortiz. Please take a moment to read Fr. Joe Nangle OFM’s beautiful article about Diana. Fr. Joe is a founding member of the Assisi Community in Washington DC, where Diana lived for 25 years.
If you are like most folks, St. Polycarp is not so familiar to you; probably unknown. But he is one of the prominent people in the generation of the apostles and early disciples. Polycarp was a disciple of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, who was ordained to serve the Church of Smyrna (a city in western Turkey on the Mediterranean).
According to Irenaeus, Polycarp was a companion of Papias, another disciple of St. John and a correspondent of Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius addressed a letter to him and mentions him in many of his other letters. Irenaeus notes that Polycarp was converted to Christianity by apostles, was consecrated a presbyter by an apostle, and communicated with many who had seen Jesus.
“But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish, away from the LORD. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down in it to go with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD.” (Jonah 1:3) So much for the son of faithfulness (Amittai).
Why run away? The wickedness of Nineveh. Would you want to go? Fear seems like a healthy reaction to avoid this mission. But there is more to it. For this we have to peek ahead to Chapter 4 (spoiler alert!). At the end of Chapter 3 the king and the entire city of Nineveh has heard Jonah preach against it and repented. “When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.” (Jonah 3:10)