Commentary on the Gospel of

Tom Shanahan, S.J.-Creighton University's Theology Department

Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist

We celebrate today the feast of the person who accompanied St. Paul on his missionary journeys; who wrote the third Gospel as well as an account of the earliest churches, the Acts of the Apostles. He was a Greek Gentile from Antioch, and a physician and thus the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. Indeed, today is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist.

Some special features unique to Luke’s Gospel illustrate a loving focus on Mary, the Mother of Jesus: the annunciation to Mary of her vocation in relation with Jesus as his mother; the beautiful prayer associated with that event, the Magnificat; the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem and his subsequent missing the convoy after it. Also special to Luke’s gospel is his interest in the poor and a tenderness for those who suffer. Tradition has it that Luke had a continuing caring relationship with Mary throughout the course of her life after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The gospel for today’s liturgy reflects on the sending out of the disciples (two by two), another gospel story special to Luke alone among the gospel writers. These disciples are to precede Jesus to the places that he will soon visit and announce that the Kingdom of God is present among the people there.

Discipleship then becomes the Gospel’s focus today. Mary, the ultimate disciple of Jesus, Luke himself, and the disciples of Jesus spread out to do the work Jesus invites them to accomplish. These special folks are the models for our contemporary discipleship, each of us is called by our Christian lives to minister to others.

Here’s where we fit in. We, contemporary disciples of Jesus the Christ, have the same ministry as his disciples: to announce the Kingdom of God. We accomplish that task in myriad ways. Each time we exercise love towards others (friend of foe), each call we respond to in faith, every simple kindness offered, our every growth in love, becomes a form and expression of being a disciple of Jesus.

These examples become our joy, not a dreaded duty. God blesses our world through us. We are the conduit of God’s love in our world. What an honor that is!

Lord, bless us as we seek to extend your profound love for each one of us. You bless us with your call to service.

Help us to follow the example of St. Luke and extend your love to those you love so deeply. Be with us as we serve as disciples, despite its incomplete character. Your promise of fulfillment becomes reality for us in your love cast out to those in need. What an honor to serve you and your desires for us all.


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