This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the last Sunday of the Church Year. As the liturgical year comes to a close, the church includes a yearly warning that this life on earth is transient, a trial run for all eternity. We are reminded that Jesus is not the king of nation states, but a servant who comes to redeem and inspire all humanity. He is a shepherd, a ruler of human hearts, and a king of truth and justice. Is this the year that we will finally pay attention, surrender our dependence on temporal success and respond with the witness of our faithful lives? Things to ponder as we celebrate this feast.
Next weekend we begin a new Liturgical Year, with the First Sunday of Advent. Has there ever been a time when someone has not yearned for God — or anyone — to bring about justice? The signs of the times still clearly reflect the pain of those who suffer. This season calls us to the same awareness as those who walked before us. We demonstrate Christ’s presence by courageously advocating for justice, security, and peace for all people.
For almost all of the Sundays this Liturgical Year, except most of the Sundays in the Easter Season, we will be reading from Saint Luke’s Gospel. As we will soon begin this new Liturgical Year, as we begin the season of Advent, I invite you to take a copy of the “Little Book” from the Diocese of Saginaw. These have been popular sources of meditation for our parishioners (and many parishioners throughout the country). Please just take ONE per family until all get an opportunity to get one either this weekend or next.
What about this Gospel? Who was Saint Luke? There is plenty of material on the Internet about this … and I’m sure you have studied him in your lives. I found this brief introduction to Saint Luke and his Gospel.
St. Luke flourished in the 1st century AD; and his feast day is October 18. In Christian tradition he is the author of the third Gospel “The Gospel According to Saint Luke” and the Acts of the Apos- tles. He was a companion of St. Paul the Apostle, and the most literary of the New Testament writers. Information about his life is scanty. Tradition based on references in the Pauline Letters has regarded him as a physician and a Gentile. He probably accompanied Paul on several missionary journeys.
Luke is first mentioned in the letters of Paul as the latter’s “coworker” and as the “beloved physician.” The former designation is the more significant one, for it identifies him as one of a profes- sional cadre of itinerant Christian “workers,” many of whom were teachers and preachers. His medical skills, like Paul’s tentmaking, may have contributed to his livelihood; but his principal occupation was the advancement of the Christian mission.
If Luke was the author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, the course and nature of his ministry may be sketched in more detail from both texts. He excludes himself from those who were eyewitnesses of Christ’s ministry. He indicates participation in the Pauline mission by the use of the first person in the “we” sections of Acts. They suggest that Luke shared in instructing persons in the Christian message and possibly in performing miraculous healings.
The “we” sections are analogous in style to travel reports found elsewhere in writings of the Greco-Roman period. They place the author with Paul during his initial mission into Greece—i.e., as far as Philippi, in Macedonia (c. 51 AD). It is there that Luke later rejoins Paul and accompanies him on his final journey to Jerusalem (c. 58 AD). After Paul’s arrest in that city and during his extended detention in nearby Caesarea, Luke may have spent considerable time in Palestine working with the apostle as the occasion allowed and gathering materials for his future two-volume literary work, the Gospel and the Acts.
In any case, two years later he appears with Paul on his prison voyage from Caesarea to Rome and again, according to the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy 4:11, at the time of the apostle’s martyrdom in the imperial city (c. 66 AD).
Further direct information about Luke is scanty in the New Testament, but certain inferences may be drawn. The literary style of his writings and the range of his vocabulary mark him as an edu- cated man. The distinction drawn between Luke and other colleagues “of the circumcision” (Colossians 4:11) has caused many scholars to conclude that he was a Gentile. If so, he would be the only New Testament writer clearly identifiable as a non-Jew. This conclusion, however, rests upon a doubtful equation of those “of the circumcision” with Jewish Christians. Actually, the phrase probably refers to a particular type of Jewish Christian, those who strictly observed the rituals of Judaism. It offers no support, therefore, to the view that Luke was a Gentile. His intimate knowledge of the Old Testament and the focus of interest in his writings favor, on balance, the view that he was a Jewish
Christian who followed a Greek lifestyle and was comparatively lax in ritual observances.
Writings from the latter half of the second century provide further information. The identification of St. Luke as “a disciple of the Apostles,” although true in a general sense, probably reflects the concern of the 2nd-century church to place all canonical Christian writings under an apostolic umbrella. Later notions that Luke was one of the 70 disciples appointed by the Lord, that he was the companion of Cleopas, and that he was an artist appear to be legendary.
I’ll have more about the actual Gospel of Saint Luke next week.
Thanksgiving: I hope that you have been having a great weekend. This is being written November 13, so I have no clue about the weather (other than what I’ve heard in Mexico about this week!). May God bless your families, friends, and keep us all in His loving care.
First Reconciliation for our second graders was celebrated on Monday, November 19th. We congratulate the 36 recipients of this sacrament, their parents, other family members, and catechists. May God bless them and be with them all as they now prepare to receive our Lord in Holy Communion coming up on May 5th, the Third Sunday of Easter.
May we all have a good week and prayerfully begin our spiritual preparation for the season of Advent, which begins next weekend. (Once again we will all be tempted to anticipate the celebration of Christmas a few weeks early! Let’s try NOT to! Thanks!)
in Christ our King,
Fr Joe Weber