Commentary on the Gospel of

Barbara Dilly - Creighton University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology - retired


Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist


The lessons for today are all, of a piece, it seems to me, that comes together most around John 15:16.  We are called from the world to go and bear fruit that will last. Those of you who read these reflections are like me, we all feel called to bear the fruit of the Gospel. But we are often not so willing to give up the distractions of the world. We must live in this world, but we are often too enamored of its present dramas. And if we become distracted, Paul says to Timothy, we will desert the Lord. Then sometimes, we try to turn the attention away from our own lack of steadfastness and focus on those who resist the preaching of the Gospel for whatever reasons. Paul brings us back to ourselves. We must not judge against them, says Paul. Instead, we should call upon the Lord for strength to proclaim the Gospel to all people. That is our calling.

We also are called to make known the glorious splendor of the Kingdom, the Lord’s might, and dominion throughout the ages. We are to proclaim the holiness of the Lord’s works and ways and the Lord’s justice. We are called to proclaim that the Lord is near to those who call upon him in truth. But we cannot discern truth and make known all the holiness of the Lord if we remain mired in the things of this world. We do not realize holiness without total devotion to God. While some readers know better how to achieve that devotion by joining holy orders and the priesthood that separate them from this world, the rest of us are no less called to holiness in lay lives. I happen to think we can still be remarkably effective, often even more so. We know that those who attempt to withdraw from this world are never wholly successful. I admire the Amish when they say they live in the world, but not of it. To me that means we, like them, can create our own forms of resistance to the things of this world to focus our life purposes on bearing the fruit of the Gospel.

Remember, the Psalm today reminds us that the Lord is near to those who call upon him in truth. Those of us who acknowledge a call to proclaim the Gospel call upon the Lord for strength and courage in proclaiming the Kingdom of God, not for the things of the Kingdom of this world. In so doing, we receive assistance in vulnerable circumstances from those who will welcome us and share their hospitality. We can reciprocate with a blessing, “the Kingdom of God is at hand for you.”  I pray today that each of us will know the strength and courage and the nearness of the Kingdom of God so that we may remain steadfast in our calling.


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