St. Luke, the Evangelist

St. Luke the evangelist can be particularly dear to us because he is the “evangelist of Our Lady.” Only from him did we get handed down to us the accounts of annunciation, visitation, the scenes of Christmas, and the presentation in the temple of Jesus. And we can say he is the evangelist of the merciful Heart of Jesus because it is Luke, who best reveals His mercy to us: the narration of the parable of the prodigal son is a treasure that we find only in his Gospel. Also, the parable of the lost and found coin. He is the evangelist of charity. He alone tells us the parable of the Good Samaritan and speaks of Jesus’ love for the poor with more tender accents than the others.

An Evangelist of Trust

Saint Luke is, therefore, the evangelist of trust, of peace, of joy. In a word, we can say that he is the evangelist of the Holy Spirit. He alone reports the sending of the seventy-two disciples on mission as we read in the Gospel of today (the exegetes think that this is a symbolic number). St. Gregory explains, “The disciples must be messengers of Christ’s charity. If there are not at least two, charity is not possible, because it is not exercised towards oneself, but is love for the other”. Team spirit is important. We have to learn how to live community life effectively.

True Friendship

In the first reading, St. Paul affectionately writes to his disciple, Timothy, who is also his companion in the mission of evangelization. The tone is affectionate but tinged with sadness because Paul does not shy away from showing what pains him. He has been abandoned by everyone! But he is gracious enough to recognize the closeness of Luke as a faithful friend in such a trying moment, “Luke is the only one with me” (2 TM 4:11a). Paul wrote this letter while sitting in a prison in Rome. It was his 4th and last imprisonment. Only one man was with St. Paul during all four of those imprisonments: Luke.

True friendship is tested during difficult moments. Can I stand by my friend or colleague during the down moments of their lives? In such moments, a simple text message can do positive magic in the life of the person having crisis. What about a phone call, or stopping over at their residence to learn how they are coping and share some moments of prayer together? When that neighbor who we often see active in Church suddenly keeps away for a long time, do we show any interest to check up on them or are we swept away by the flood of indifference, allowing them to face whatever it is all alone? A sense of concern and interest could help a lot in our Christian communities.

The Crisis of Life

Paul felt deserted by his friends and close companions. Just as he suffers from betrayal and slander, loneliness grips him. It’s a kind of hard crises of his life. So, we too have to remind ourselves that bearing witness to Christ in our existence does not mean being “insured” against certain possibilities that life can suddenly present to us. In the case of Paul, the situation is truly dramatic, because not even his closest friends seem to have taken on the task of taking the apostle’s defense at the crucial moment.

We still have true and faithful friends today. Moreover, even in successful marriages and beautiful friendships, we all sometimes feel that loneliness that coincides with our thirst for infinity, but which in any case is like an always open wound. When it comes to betrayals and abandonments, loneliness presents itself on two sides: that of despair and that of Faith, of Hope, of Charity.

[Readings: 2 Tim 4:10-17b; Lk 10:1-9]

Fr. John Bosco Obiako

Fr. JohnBosco Obiako is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, Nigeria. He is a doctoral student of Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome - Italy, with a special interest in Philosophy and Ethics of technology. He also provides spiritual and pastoral services as Chaplain to African Anglophone Catholic Community in the Diocese of Prato, Italy. Email contact: OBIAKOJOHNBOSCO@GMAIL.COM

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