Saint Luke, Evangelist – October 18th

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Saint Luke, the Evangelist – October 18th

Readings: 2 Tm 4:10-17; Lk 10:1-9.

Reading 1 (2 Tm 4:10-17): 

Beloved: Demas, enamored of the present world,
deserted me and went to Thessalonica,
Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
Luke is the only one with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is helpful to me in the ministry.
I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas,
the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.

Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm;
the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
You too be on guard against him,
for he has strongly resisted our preaching.

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.

Gospel (Lk 10:1-9):

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, “Peace to this household.”
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”
treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”

THEME: St. Luke faithfully wrote and preached the Good News.

            St. Luke was not a Jew; he was mentioned separately from the Jews (Col 4:14) and his writing style showed he is a Greek. Therefore, he cannot be identified with the prophet Lucius in Acts 13:1 or Lucius in Romans 16:21, who is Paul’s fellow-countryman. Epiphanus is not correct when called him as one of the seventy-two disciples. He is not Cleopas’ companion on the journey to Emmaus. St. Luke had a good knowledge of the Septuagint and the Jewish tradition which he received during the time he was a Jewish neophyte or after he became a Christian, through his contact with the apostles and disciples.

            He lived at Antioch, Syria’s capital. He was a physician, and Paul called him a “beloved physician” (Col 4:14). St. Luke first appeared at Troas when he met Paul (Acts 16:8). Since then, he became Paul’s companion in preaching the Good News, and wrote the Third Gospel and the Acts. He was Paul’s loyal friend during Paul’s last time in the prison as today report (2 Tim 4:7-11). There are three times he was mentioned in Pauline Letters (Col 4:14; Phi 24; 2 Tim 4:11), and twice together with Mark. This shows Luke was familiar with Mark and his Gospel. Luke must have many opportunities to meet Peter and helped him in composing the I Peter in Greek.

1/ Reading I: Luke alone is with me.

1.1/ Paul completely trusted in God’s providence: After Paul witnessed for Christ at Jerusalem, he appeared to Paul in a vision at night to console him and let him know he will also witness for him at Rome. He also let him know many dangers are waiting for him at Rome.

            Paul wrote this Letter to Timothy, his disciple when he was in prison at Rome, with a purpose to encourage hem to be ready to become Christ’s witness. Paul did not consider him to be worthy of the crown reserved for a righteous by his accomplished works; but Paul would like to stress his loyal faith in Christ. He is the just Judge, the one who will declare Paul as righteous, and give him the reward which is the righteous crown.

            This passage is a proof for those who misunderstood Paul’s doctrine. They claimed St. Paul said that people become righteous by their faith in Christ, not by any deeds. St. Paul showed his faith in God by completing his mission of preaching the Good News to Gentiles which Christ bestowed on him; and now, he is ready to pour out his blood to be a witness for the Good News he preached at Rome, the Gentile land.

1.2/ Paul could overcome all obstacles because he completely trust God: Looking at Paul’s life of preaching the Good News, we are astonished about his exceptional courage. He must confront sufferings both inside and outside, as he wrote in today report: “At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!” Even though he was suffered much, he imitated Christ by not blaming them, and also by praying for them.

            Paul realized that his strength to suffer and the success in proclaiming the Good News did not come from his human weakness; but by the faith he completely put in Christ. He wrote: “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the message fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

2/ Gospel: “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

2.1/ The difference between the Synoptists: In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus did not only chose the twelve apostles but also many disciples to train and to send them out to preach the Good News. In Luke, there is twice Jesus sent them out. In the first time, Jesus sent the twelve apostles which were also reported by Matthew and Luke (Lk 9:1-6; Mt 10:1, 7-16; Mk 6:7-13). The second time was only reported by Luke in today report: “The Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come.”

2.2/ The disciples are the messengers of the Good News.

            (1) They must be conscious of their mission: Jesus knew the dangers which his disciples must face when he said to them: “Behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” Two things he warned them:

            – “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals”: These are the things which prevent or destroy the preaching of the Good News. To worry too much about material needs will prevent them to have time for preaching the Gospel.

            – “and salute no one on the road”: Jesus did not teach his disciples to be impolite or segregated. He only wanted his disciples to know the urgency of the proclamation of the Good News so that they will not spend time in useless conversations along their journeys. This bad habit takes time out of their preaching or preparation (cf. 2 Kgs 4:29).

            (2) To accept the Good new is a condition to have peace: Jesus commanded his disciples: “Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!’” This shows salvation is given free to all. According to Luke, this peace is connected with the salvation which Christ brought to all (cf. 1:79, 2:14-29, 7:50, 8:48, 12:51, 19:38). To accept the Good News is to have peace: “And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.” The point Jesus would like to imply here is the peace inside his disciples has power to make others to feel at peace too.

2.3/ The disciples are messengers of the heavenly kingdom.

            (1) Do not look for material gain: Some may ask, “If they don’t bring money and bag with them, what do they do when they need them?” Such question underestimates God’s providence. Christ considered his disciples are his workers, and “The laborer deserves his wages” (1 Tim 5:18; cf. 1 Cor 9:7-14). However, Jesus also insisted: “eating and drinking what they provide.” A preacher cannot be picky; they must be able to adapt with the local food. They also cannot live according to the Jewish Kosher law. Jesus commanded his disciples, “do not go from house to house” to looking for material gain or to have a better place to live.

            (2) To make God’s kingdom quickly come: Jesus repeated the main obligation of a disciple: “Heal the sick in it and say to them, `The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” God’s kingdom came with Christ’s appearance and his disciples announce this Good New to all.


III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            – We should imitate Paul and Luke to sacrifice our whole life for the proclamation of the Good News.

            – We will face many difficulties in preaching of the Good News because they are values opposite with worldly values; but whoever is faithful to the end shall be saved.

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