October 18, 2008
Saint Luke, Evangelist. Feast
Luke 10: 1-9
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house!' And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.
Petition: Lord, increase my faith so that in any trial I will trust in you.
1. Amazing Graces
Luke, whose feast we celebrate in today’s liturgy, is the only gentile author in the New Testament. He is someone, who for several thousand years, would not have been considered among God’s favored simply because of his gentile birth. However, it was part of God’s design that he be among the first generation of gentiles to be brought into God’s family, and further still, be chosen by God to be the author of one of the Gospels and the Book of Acts. “Who am I to receive such a grace?” Luke might easily have said to himself, marveling at the gratuitousness with which he received his role within the Church. An honest look at the great grace we have received in being called to be part of God’s Church should bring us to say the same thing: Who are we to receive such an incredible blessing?! Why did we receive this grace and our next-door neighbor did not? Why have so many souls in the history of the world never had the opportunity to know about Christ, but we have? Only one answer comes close. God wants it, and it is part of his plan of love for all mankind.
2. More Hands on Deck
Here is a true situation at a parish on the West Coast: After five draining hours in the confessional, the priest climbs out to verify that no one else is in line. This is the normal Sunday morning routine there. During those hours the priest was witness to several powerful conversions, souls finding peace after years of struggle, other saintly souls whose delicate consciences was cause for admiration, and still others moving along with a “more-or-less” attitude in their response to God, but who were helped by the grace of reconciliation. Many more confessions could be heard, but there simply aren’t enough priests to meet the need. The more confession is offered, the more the faithful take advantage of the opportunity, and the more the Church grows in holiness. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Do we pray that God send more laborers to the harvest? Do we pray for more priests, nuns, religious, and consecrated souls? Christ is encouraging us to ask for more laborers in the field, but the Father will send them only if we follow Christ’s instructions and pray.
3. A Lamb without Sandals
Christ’s comparison almost seems cruel: “I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals….” If he considers the apostles to be like lambs, why on earth would he send them among wolves? Moreover, why would he ask them to leave behind the bare minimum they might need to protect and provide for themselves? If they need to escape from wolves, some sandals would be prudent so at least they could run faster! As always, Christ wants to stretch the faith of the apostles. He needs them to place all their confidence and trust in him—not in their own human resources. “My Father’s providence will take care of you and protect you” is the message he wants them to accept and live. Later he tells them to take these items with them (cf. Luke 22:36), but he also reminds them, “‘When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘Nothing.’” Sometimes Christ asks us to fulfill a task without what would normally be necessary. He wants us to rely on him, not on our own skills or talents. While we always need to apply all our God-given human intelligence and prudence, we still need to rely on God to bless our work and fill in for what is lacking.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, so much of what I’m faced with each day seems to be beyond my capabilities, yet I see clearly that you want me to continue pushing forward, trusting in your providence. This isn’t easy! Help be to have confidence in you.
Resolution: If faced with an obstacle today, I will pray for God’s assistance rather than rely only on myself.
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