“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few” ~ Luke 10:2
After reading today’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-9) one can see why so many were reluctant to assume the role of laborer in our Lord’s Vineyard. “I am sending you like lambs among wolves” Jesus warns them (and us), going on to instruct them to “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” Presumably no Starbucks, Netflix, or Amazon Prime either.
But on the day in which our church pauses to honor and venerate the man who wrote more than 25% of the New Testament by way of the Acts of the Apostles and the synoptic Gospel that bears his name, Catholics are reminded that we are indeed a Missionary Church, sent by the Lord to spread his word and to do his work, to “give away” the Gospel to all whom we encounter. We do this by virtue of our witness to the truth, our thoughts, words, choices and actions.
in an address delivered to the Archdiocese of Padua on October 15th, 2000, Pope John Paul II said of Saint Luke in part “As a minister of God's Word, Luke leads us to knowledge of the discreet yet penetrating light that radiates from it, while illustrating the reality and events of history. The theme of the Word of God, the golden thread woven through the two works that comprise Luke's writing, also unites the two periods treated by him: the time of Jesus and that of the Church.” The great Pope turned Saint, whose own Feast Day we will celebrate in a few days, went on to say that “The journey proposed by the third Gospel is profoundly marked by listening to this Word which, like a seed, must be received with goodness and promptness of heart, overcoming the obstacles that prevent it from taking root and bearing fruit.”
Prudence and simplicity of life are prerequisites to the effective proclamation of the Gospel, this we know by virtue of the lessons taught to us by the Communion of Saints. In shedding themselves of worldliness, the Saints were given the vision to receive and act upon the gifts of wisdom, patience, discernment and fortitude, all necessary virtues for those who seek to proclaim the Gospel. In the case of Saint Luke, he was a prominent physician. He gave it all up to preach the Word of God. In doing so, his words echo throughout time, sapient words that possess the power to heal and transform. Words that possess the power to save souls.
Psalm 145, chosen in conjunction with today’s Readings, proclaims “Your friends make known, Oh Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom” while the waning words in Luke’s Gospel (10:9), appropriately chosen for today, remind us that “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” Jesus speaks those words many times throughout all four of the Gospels. This can be no accident.
The time is now to pursue the Gifts of the Holy Spirit while eschewing the fleeting pleasures of the material world. Saint Luke’s life is a testimony to the heavenly and eternal splendor that awaits those who do.
“Lord God, who chose Saint Luke to reveal by his preaching and writings the mystery of your love of the poor, grant that those who already glory in your name may persevere as one heart and one soul and that all nations may merit to see your salvation. Good Saint Luke, please continue to pray with us and for us” ~ Amen
“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.” ~ Psalm 145:10