Two simple lessons


Homily on the readings for Oct. 18, Monday, Feast of St Luke

“The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs” and gave them instructions about what to expect and how to act. He sends them with nothing but the clothes on their backs, “like lambs among wolves”, with no illusions about what to expect: they will be accepted in some places by peaceful people, to whom they will proclaim the Kingdom of God; others will reject them or even try to prey upon them.

St Paul was not in that first group of 72, but he seems to have been following basically the same instructions, and the results are just as Jesus predicted. On one hand, he has apparently met with some wolves, like “Alexander the coppersmith” who did him “a great deal of harm”, and others who have simply abandoned him in his time of need. But he also has found people who were receptive to his proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God: “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.”

His sole companion when he writes this letter to Timothy, is Luke, the saint whom we celebrate today. It’s interesting to note that St Luke was mainly what we could call St Paul’s sidekick and a chronicler; he was not called an Apostle like Paul, and we don’t know much about him with certainty. And yet, through his very accessible writings – the Gospel that bears his name, and the Acts of the Apostles – he has reached as many people as St Paul, if not more.

I’d like to take two simple conclusions from these considerations. First, if we really try to follow Jesus and take seriously our Christian duty to evangelize, we will undoubtedly face difficulties, but as long as we keep trying, God’s plan cannot be stopped. Secondly, holiness and effectiveness as Christians does not depend on our prominence in the community: if we are faithful to God, He can magnify and multiply our efforts in ways we cannot foresee and raise our spirits to the heights of holiness.

I’d like to close, as I often do, with an excerpt from today’s psalm, which expresses the joy we should feel on account the way God works through those who follow Him: “Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might.”

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About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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