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During Telemachus’ life the gladiatorial games were very popular. People were fascinated by the sight of blood and gore upon the arena floor. And that alone was enough to bring the criticism of bishops and priests from within the church. But worse than all of this was the fact that most of the gladiators who fought in the arena were not there voluntarily. Most were slaves, political prisoners, those considered to be the dregs of the society who were forced to train and fight for their lives for the sheer entertainment of others, many of whom were Christian. Emperor Honorius was well-known as a Christian and yet he sponsored the games and many of his fellow Christians sat in the most prominent seats within the arena.


Telemachus wondered if there could possibly be anything further from the Spirit of Christ than the total disregard for the lives of these men on the part of his fellow believers. So disturbed was he that he felt something had to be done about it. Something more than just words condemning. So he set out for Rome.


When Telemachus entered the city, the people he met had gone mad with excitement. "To the Coliseum!", they cried out. "The games are about to start.!" So Telemachus followed the crowd and was seated among all the other people when the gladiators came out into the center of the arena. Everybody was tense. Everybody was silent as the two men faced each other. The men drew their swords. The fight was about to be on and it was expected that one of them would be dead within minutes.


But at that very moment Telemachus took a fateful action. He rose from his seat and ran down onto the arena floor. Holding high the cross of Christ, he threw himself into a position between the two gladiators and cried, "In the name of our Master, stop fighting!"


The two men put their swords away, but the crowds went wild. Telemachus had robbed them of their bloody entertainment which they were determined to have in one way or another. If it wasn’t going to be the life of one of these men it was going to be the life of the monk. And they took it.


Far down in the arena lay the battered body of the monk. Suddenly the mob and the spectators who had remained in their seats grew quiet. A feeling of revulsion at what had been done swept over them. Emperor Honorius rose and left the Coliseum. The people followed him, and abruptly the games were over. They were really over. In the matter of day Honorius issued an edict. And so it was, that because one individual, filled with the love of Christ, dared to say, "No!", all gladiatorial games ceased.


It cost him his life, but Telemachus got his brothers and sisters in the faith to ask the all important questions. Is your life of faith readily apparent to all you meet? Do they recognize faith’s fruits? Can they see the love of Christ who showed no favoritism, but died for all, in the way you treat and respect everyone? Is it readily apparent to others that you are someone who “spends time with Jesus”? Or is it something else they see?

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