Handbook For Discipleship

10.18.17  Wed. wk. 28 – O.T. – (I)  Feast of St. Luke
1st Rdg .   Timothy  4:  10 to 17b
Gospel  –  Luke  10:  1 – 9

The Lord †Jesus appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.  He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.  Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.  Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’*  If a peaceful person* lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.  Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another.  Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you,g9cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’          The Gospel of the Lord.


Fr. Mike Murphy                                   Handbook For Discipleship

We have very little information about St. Luke.  It is clear from our first reading, in Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, that he was a companion of St. Paul.  Also in Paul’s letter to the Colossians we read: ”Luke, the beloved physician sends greetings.” (4:14) This is the origin of the tradition that Luke was a physician based on St. Paul’s words.  As a result of his travels with St. Paul, Luke witnessed many, many people encountering the Kingdom of God.  He saw the “rich harvest” in the world as †Jesus spoke of in the Gospel.  And St. Luke was one of those “laborers” who responded to the call.  As a result, we can see in the Gospel according to Saint Luke, ‘A Manual for Discipleship.’  To read Luke’s Gospel as a manual, it is very interesting how the laborers proclaimed “The Good News of Jesus Christ.”

This ‘Manual for Discipleship’ appears in two volumes.  Volume 1 is – ‘The Gospel of St. Luke.’  It describes the †Jesus’ life, from His Conception all the way to His death on Calvary and His Resurrection.  Then the second volume of this ‘Manual for Discipleship’ is ‘The Acts of The Apostles,’ the other book that St. Luke wrote.  It traces the growth of the Church from its Jewish roots in Jerusalem, spreading out to all the Gentile World and it witnesses the growth of our Sacred Tradition.  These two volumes of this one Evangelist, Luke, encompasses nearly 1/3 of the New Testament, so his writings are significant.

Scripture scholars have discerned four major themes that we find in the writings of Saint Luke.  The first is inclusivity.  Keep in mind that Luke was probably a Gentile who lived in Antioch and he was writing to a predominantly Gentile Community.  As the church began to grow after Pentecost, and as you know, the Jews were the primary focus of the Good News.  Gentiles were considered ‘dogs’ and unworthy of Salvation.   It was not until St. Paul was given his call by God, that this all changed.  So we find in this Gospel that Luke emphasizes the universal nature of Salvation through the death and resurrection of †Jesus.  St. Luke also writes of the central role women had around †Jesus in the Gospel and in the early Church.  At that time women had no social status, particularly if they were unmarried.   But Luke surrounds †Jesus in His ministry with women, like Mary Magdalene and Joanna and of course, Mary, the mother of †Jesus.   And in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul is constantly encountering faithful women along the way.   So this is also the way that Saint Luke looks at slaves, and Gentiles, and lepers, and other sinners, and those on the fringe of the society.  St. Luke includes all in the Lord’s call to Salvation.  And the lesson of discipleship for us is that all people are children of God and true disciples reject no one.  No one – regardless of how others may reject them, we are called to be inclusive, that’s the message the Gospel.

The second theme we find in Luke’s writings is that of reversal.  In the Gospel according to St. Luke, †Jesus teaches us that God’s ways are not our ways.  A lot of things are turned upside down in the Gospel from what the culture would expect to be normal behavior.   We see this in the very first chapter of the Gospel According to Luke in the beautiful “Magnificat” by Mary.  She prays: “How ‘a lowly handmaid’ is called blessed.  How rulers are thrown down from their thrones but the lowly are lifted up.   The hungry are filled with good things and rich are sent away empty.”  God is turning everything that we have done upside down.  We also find a the shorter version of the Beatitudes in St. Luke’s writings,” “How the poor will inherit the kingdom, the hungry will be satisfied, and those who laugh now – they will to be sad later on.”  For us in discipleship, we must remember that God is the Lord of all; and despite how strange God’s ways may be, the will of God must be followed.  “I am the maidservant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you say.” (Luke 1:38)

The third theme we find in Luke’s Gospel – is the theme of God’s mercy.  This is dominant throughout Luke’s Gospel.  Both Mary and Zachariah, who was the father of John the Baptist, proclaimed God’s mercy in their Canticles.  And only in St. Luke’s Gospel do we find these stories: The Story of the Penitent Woman; The Good Samaritan; The Prodigal Son; The Tax Collector in the Temple; Zacchaeus, The Tax Collector; and the good thief on Calvary.”    Only in Luke’s Gospel do we find these stories because Luke is emphasizing again, the great mercy of God for those who are sinners and those who are rejected.  Not only does †Jesus show mercy, in these parables, but ordinary people are also expressing mercy.  And as disciples, our primary Mission is to preach the mercy of God to all peoples.  By our word, but most importantly by our actions are we to show God’s mercy and to forgive others.  This is the mission of the Church, an essential theme in Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.

The final theme we find it these two works, in ‘This Manual of Discipleship’ is perseverance in prayer.  In St. Luke’s Gospel we find †Jesus praying all the time, particularly before major of events or incidences in His life, in His ministry.  And †Jesus cherishes His deep communion with the Father, calling out to God for discernment on His mission.  So what’s the lesson for us as disciples?  Communion with the Lord in prayer is the life-blood of the Church’s ministry, because without prayer, evangelization will fail.

So, St. Luke is the Teacher of Discipleship.  To inclusivity, in the words and actions of †Jesus we accept all people as brothers and sisters.   In reversal, from the world’s values, we choose God’s ways over the ways of the world in the popular culture.  In Mercy, expressing mercy towards all, is the way we imitate Christ.   And finally prayer, to persevere in prayer, we must be grounded in prayer if we are to be true disciples of †Jesus.

So we are called to pray and to live the Gospel:

“The Handbook for Discipleship in the School of Holiness.”

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.