18 October – Feast of St Luke; Evangelist
Born to pagan Greek parents, and possibly a slave. One of the earliest converts to Christianity. Physician, studying in Antioch and Tarsus. Probably travelled as a ship‘s doctor; many charitable societies of physicians are named for him. Legend has that he was also a painter who may have done portraits of Jesus and Mary, but none have ever been correctly or definitively attributed to him; this story, and the inspiration his Gospel has always given artists, led to his patronage of them. He met Saint Paul the Apostle at Troas, and evangelized Greece and Rome with him, being there for the shipwreck and other perils of the voyage to Rome, and stayed in Rome for Paul‘s two years of in prison. Wrote the Gospel According to Luke, much of which was based on the teachings and writings of Paul, interviews with early Christians, and his own experiences. Wrote a history of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles.
– Patron Saint Index
2 Timothy 4:10-17
Demas has deserted me for love of this life and gone to Thessalonika, Crescens has gone to Galatia and Titus to Dalmatia; only Luke is with me. Get Mark to come and bring him with you; I find him a useful helper in my work. I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas, and the scrolls, especially the parchment ones. Alexander the coppersmith has done me a lot of harm; the Lord will repay him for what he has done. Be on your guard against him yourself, because he has been bitterly contesting everything that we say.
The first time I had to present my defence, there was not a single witness to support me. Every one of them deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it. But the Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.”
“if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you.”
In today’s 1st reading, we see St. Paul talking about being challenged by someone, saying that he has been “bitterly contesting everything that we say”. In the Gospel, Jesus was telling the disciples that if they visit a house where there isn’t a man of peace, their peace will return to them. At the time Jesus was saying this to his disciples, Paul or Saul, as he was called, was on the other side being the persecutor.
I remember a time in my life that I was a persecutor too. Not in the way Saul was advocating stoning but if I might have done just as much damage with harsh words. Therefore, I’ve come to believe that for most of us, Jesus will come along one day and offer to change us from Saul to Paul. It is very much up to us to recognise who it is that is calling, and then to accept the invitation.
Also, much like Saul the persecutor, maybe some of his followers too, God will use people around us, like Ananias to help us. Maybe to help us to get back on our feet, to help us decipher this voice that has been calling out to us? Much in the way Jesus sent his disciples out in two’s. And similarly in the first reading Paul is saying that only Luke was with him at that time and telling Timothy to come to him with Mark.
The journey of Christianity is seldom a journey of solitude. The ascent of the castles of the spiritual life is a journey that probably starts with someone else too, and as the ascent get steeper the path becomes narrower until you find yourself walking in solitude. Unfortunately few are strong enough. I know I’m not ready, I still need fellow pilgrims to support me on this journey even if I do not readily admit it.
Jesus chose to come and walk among us in order to bring us to him for eternity. May we do the same in our respective mission fields, let us be among those we wish to help instead of above them like a supervisor. Maybe if we saw more of the people around us as brother and sister, would we bring more of them to church with us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daryl De Payva)
Prayer: Just like iron sharpens iron and the early Christians spread the faith by word of mouth and friendships, grant us Lord a desire to journey into church with the people you wish us to.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for walking among us so that we may do the same and for not leaving us alone on this journey. Thank you for the person who brought me to know you.