2Tm 4. 10-17b; Ps 145; Lk 10. 1-9
Homily of Rev. Paul D. Panaretos, S.J.
St. Luke, as you know, wrote a two-part gospel. Part One we name his gospel, his portrait of Jesus. We name Part Two, his Acts of the Apostles, Luke’s portrait of the infant church. Recalling him today the church directs our attention to Jesus and his compassion as well as recalling the only information in Paul’s letters, which indicated a relationship between him and Luke.
Jesus’ compassion we can identify by turning to our experience. However, our experience is alien to the ancient metaphor of harvesting. Does that mean that this gospel passage is so time-bound that it cannot speak to us? It need not be time-bound, and here’s why.
Scripture comfortably heaps images atop each other. Harvest is named but two others are described by Jesus: shepherding (I send you as lambs in the midst of wolves) and messengers (say to [those I send you], ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you’ ).
Jesus is the model messenger as well as shepherd and harvester. Jesus was sent by God, who was the master of the harvest, to proclaim God’s kingdom.
St. Luke’s feast reminds us that all Christians are to act with the master of the harvest; we are to allow ourselves be sent by Jesus as his ambassadors to our world. Our embassy is not an office to which people come. The Catholic embassy is our way of living by which we extend Jesus’ work, empowered by Jesus to invite others to the Kingdom of God to which we already have been welcomed. We invite by our manner of living.
That calls for perseverance as well as moving lightly through life. Becoming enamored of the present world, to use Paul’s language, is to cease to focus ourselves on Jesus’ mission he gives us and not to persevere. Because St. Luke abided with St. Paul--Luke is the only one with me--he is a worthy intercessor to help us persevere, to encounter Jesus and others in new ways and to discover anew how Jesus makes us conduits of his Holy Spirit.
Wiki-image of St. Luke is in the public domain.