Today the church celebrates the feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist. Saint Luke the evangelist is one of the synoptic writers of the gospel. Saint Luke the Evangelist is one of the four Evangelists.
We do not know much about him in the new testament. He is not among the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. He was not even written as one of those following Jesus around, though he may be one of the disciples.
There is glaring evidence that Luke must be a disciple of Saint Paul. Saint Paul calls him a great physician in Colossians 4:14 and 2 Timothy 4:11, the first reading of today.
In the first reading of today, Paul mentions only Luke when it seems that everyone has deserted Paul. Paul writes that only Luke is the only person who is with Him. Therefore, In Luke, we see the spirit of evangelism.
He accompanies Paul on many of his missionary journeys. Even in His darkest and problematic moments.
His life is a true reflection of the Spirit of evangelism. The call to evangelize is a call to help and support each other in building up God’s Kingdom.
It is not a call to compete on who is the best. In this work, everything we do is for the Lord. Therefore, we have to imbibe the spirit of evangelism.
It is the spirit of evangelisation in Luke that guided him to give us detailed information of the incarnation and the boyhood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Luke does that more than any other gospel evangelist.
The Commissioning of the Seventy Two.
Luke’s account of the commissioning of seventy-two is similar to his account of the commissioning of the twelve(9:1-6) Here, Luke continues the procedure of sending messengers ahead during Jesus’ journey (9:52). In today’s commissioning, Jesus sends them out in pairs, to all the towns and places He wants to visit.
The commissioning today is not only the Jewish territories. This is all-inclusive. Jesus sends them out ahead of him presumably for them to clear the path and prepare the people to accept him.
This is a summary of our vocation. We are called to evangelise and bring the message of salvation to people.
God chooses us to come to the world and make us instruments of His salvation. We are to speak to men’s hearts.
God chooses you to be a living gospel. So, this is one of the reasons Saint Luke the evangelist is remembered today.
Therefore, Our call is all-inclusive. When we meet people daily, let us use those opportunities to bring them to God.
In today’s gospel, Jesus sends them out in pairs. Like, we said before, the practice of sending messengers “two by two” known as ana duo was common practice among the early Christians (Mark 6:7; Luke 7:18–19; Acts 13:2; 15:27) and also among the Jews.
It provides companionship and protection. Therefore, the call to evangelise is not a one man’s work. It is more collaborative work.
Saint Luke the evangelist is an exemplar of this. He proves this in His missionary journey with Paul.
Saint Luke the Evangelist wasn’t there to be a burden to Paul, rather, He helped Him. Their goal is one; which is the salvation of souls.
Therefore, the call to evangelise is not a call to compete among ourselves, and fight ourselves. It is not a call to seek to be the first. This is more of a collaboration. This gospel simply underscores that we need the other person to reach our goal. Therefore, We need the other person. The work is not ours. We are only instruments.
In The Mission.
In their mission, the seventy-two disciples were to go everywhere that Jesus is to go. It is everywhere. Therefore, the extent of this mission underscores that of the church. The church is universal and has to work in reaching the ends of the earth.
Therefore, in our mission, everybody is inclusive. Saint Luke the evangelist accompanied Paul in His missionary journeys and they went to many places.
So, Saint Luke is the one who provided us not only the gospel of what Jesus did but also on the Acts of the Apostles. He is always all-inclusive.
In His account of the gospel, Luke is the only gospel evangelist that gave us detailed information about Jesus right from his birth to death.
Therefore, the call to evangelize involves all. Every soul that we encounter is very important to God. Therefore, do not choose those to speak with or not to speak with. Do not choose only those who will obey and listen to you. The word of God is all-inclusive. Even the hardest criminal, the haters of faith need to hear it again. Let us use every opportunity that we have to bring souls to God.
In the Midst of Wolves.
Jesus tells them “I am sending you out like lambs among wolves” Wolves are natural enemies of sheep. So, the disciples are like “lambs” (arnas). They are defenceless and dependent on God alone.
The wolves here indicate that the journey is not an easy one, so they have to prepare for whatever they will encounter.
In essence, the work of evangelization is not an easy one. We shall encounter challenges, we shall encounter wolves. Many people are going to attack us. Many of them are going to be our problem and try to limit our progress in life.
Therefore, like Jesus is preparing the disciples ahead, we also have to know that it will not be an easy field. This calls for prayers and preparations.
Carry no purse, No haversack, No sandals.
In the instructions, Jesus asks them not to carry purses, haversacks and sandals. This may sound somehow, but like Jesus always does, this has a meaning and implication.
It means that when we are ready to work for God, the main focus should be on God and the work we are to do. Material acquisitions should not be a distraction to us. Therefore, we have to trust the Lord for provisions, strength and graces.
Peace as the Watch Word.
Jesus says to them “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.”
Therefore their mission to evangelise is a call to bring peace to people. In essence, we are called to be a blessing to people, to bring peace and to make people embrace God. Peace should be the watchword.
Finally, Jesus says “Wherever 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.”
Therefore, the message is the message of change and repentance. So, Healing the sick is an act that is part of the missionary activity but not the centre.
Therefore, we should not forget the central message. The message of repentance should be the central point.
Saint Luke the evangelist accompanied Paul in his journey as they were preaching the message of repentance to the world.
Healing and miracles are not the central points of the renewal, therefore, as we seek God, let us seek for the renewal of and repentance of heart first, then other things will be added unto it. Our problem is that we are seeking other things and forget the central message.
May God help us as we keep to our missionary mandate. May He give you the grace to touch souls. Remain blessed