"Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'" [Luke]
Scripture scholars argue about the exact identity of the evangelist known as Luke, but whoever he was, we are in great debt to him. At least I, as a preacher, am in debt to him. I love the parables that he has preserved which do not appear in the other gospels. The stories of the Good Samaritan, Martha and Mary, the Prodigal Son, the two men at prayer in the temple, the Rich Fool, Zaccheus the tax collector are examples. I love those vivid parables!
In addition to the gospel which bears his name, Luke is regarded as the author of the Acts of the Apostles. In this work, we are given examples of the earliest preaching in the Christian community and elsewhere. His rendition of St. Paul's preaching in the areopagus in Athens [Acts 17: 22-31] is a gem!
A major theme in the Gospel According to Luke is the spread of the "kingdom" from a small start in Galilee to Jerusalem to all the known (Meditteranean) world. The appointment of seventy-two additional disciples reflected the expanding nature of the preaching, and the event of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles is regarded as the birth of the Church. The power of Luke's writing has its impact on our faith. Today we salute him! AMEN
[Note to the Beloved Congregation. My official scriptural consultor has called my attention to a mis-identification of the James that Herod executed. He was not the James known as "the brother of the Lord." Of course, the problem presented by the role of Jesus' relatives in the early community still remains as a matter of scholarly study and debate. I am grateful to Fr. Felix Just, SJ, former student parishioner of mine at U. of Arizona and PhD in scripture from Yale Divinity for his role in keeping me scripturally sound in my reflections! Visit his incredible scripture website at www.catholic-resources.org!]
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