Polycarp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s commemoration links us right back to the very early Church: Polycarp is said to have been a disciple of John the Apostle, and even (according to Jerome) to have been ordained by him.

It’s one of those feasts which place us firmly in a historical context: we are not just part of the Church now, but of the Church throughout the ages; a Church catholic not just in space but in time.

That is a continuity which can comfort us when the Church of our time seems sometimes to lose its way, or to be hard pressed by the forces of the times; a continuity which reminds us that we have passed through such times before, and probably will again.  A continuity which is in a sense a foretaste of eternity.