October 18, 2019
(St. Luke, Evangelist)
St. Paul wrote, 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. 2_Tm_4:10-17b
Jesus sent His disciples out on a mission to preach the Good News to all who would hear, and said, “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.'” Lk_10:1-9
Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission to spread the Good News of God’s love. But it was by no means a haphazard commissioning. The disciples were trained and sent specifically to those towns that Jesus had planned on visiting.
It was a highly effective advertising campaign. And by the time Jesus reached those towns, the people were not only open to hearing what Jesus had to say, but they were excited and motivated to learn more. It was the beginning of a world-wide network of training and evangelization schools.
From “the 12,” and from “the 72,” and from those who would follow in their footsteps, the whole world would learn of the loving mercy of God and what His Plan IS for every one of them.
Of course, as we’ve seen, and as we know by experience, there are always those who will obstinately refuse to listen or believe. And St. Paul was one of them. But His story teaches us that even the obstinate can be converted. And more often than not, it is that tough convert who is the most zealous and fearless of teachers.
St. Paul told Christ’s story of life and hope at the risk and at the actual cost, of great peril to his own life. And he made that cost well known through his letters. From beatings, to imprisonment to shipwreck, abandonment, isolation and eventually even martyrdom, Paul would proclaim that Good News more like the wolf than the lamb. But like the wolf who was out to devour Souls for their own Salvation, instead of as flesh for his own self-preservation.
And then there was Luke. By no means short on his own challenges with persecution, Dr. Luke was more like the lamb who preferred the intellectual, ordered and structured evangelization-style of a written record of the life and times of Jesus.
Thus, we have the Third Gospel, the Gospel of Luke, which begins as an instructional letter to his dear protege, Theophilus, a lover of God.
You see, there really are many different styles of evangelization. But they all have the point of showing the world that there is more to life than just cell phones and pocketbooks. There is more to life than just power and fame.
God has a Plan for every one of us.
And it’s a Plan of LOVE!
And Jesus shows us exactly how it works, with the help of the Holy Spirit, our Gospels, and our Church.
You see, brothers and sisters, somewhere deep within every one of us, there’s a Story. And once we get beyond the muck and the fires, and the earthquakes, there’s also something very Beautiful. And in the beauty, when we look close enough, there we’ll find our Jesus. And there’s the Story that we’ve been personally blessed to share, just like Paul, and just like Luke. It’s our Gift, and it’s God’s Plan that we use it to bring His light and love into the world. And THAT’s the Kingdom we seek!
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