Gospel: Lk 10:1-9
After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of him, to every town and place, where he himself was to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to his harvest. Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know.
Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.
When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them: ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’
Today we are remembering one of the most important figures of the Primitive Church, Luke the evangelist. Why important? Because of the following facts.
First, Luke singlehandedly wrote a quarter of the New Testament. His two-volume work is made, first, of a gospel relating the story of Jesus, and second, of the Acts of the Apostles relating the story of the infant Church as a distinct phase of salvation history.
Second, at every turn Luke in his gospel emphasizes how Jesus is caring and tender toward the poor and lowly, the outcast, the sinner and the afflicted, those who recognize their dependence on God. No evangelist is more concerned than Luke with the mercy and compassion of Jesus, with the role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus and of the Christian disciples, with the importance of prayer, with Jesus’ concern for women.
Third, Luke was at times a close and faithful collaborator of Paul, who calls him “the beloved physician” (Col 4:14).
Fourth, Luke was highly literate both in the Old Testament and in Hellenistic Greek writings. He wrote mostly for Gentile Christians and the whole Church at large. Our debt to him is incalculable.