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Our Church has a three-year cycle of readings on Sundays that are designated as Year A, Year B, and Year C. We are now in Year C, which focuses our attention on the Gospel of St. Luke, which we begin reading from this Sunday. If you are curious, Year A is centered on the Gospel of Mark and Year B is centered around the Gospel of Matthew.
The first lines from the Gospel of Luke give his purpose. He wrote to Theophilus, a real person. However, the name Theophilus means, “One loved by God.” Can’t that be the name for all of us, “One loved by God”? So, Luke wrote to every generation, including our own to give an orderly account of the things that were witnessed by those closest to Jesus Christ. It is a kind of ancient biographical account, centered on Jesus, of events in his life as seen by others. But his Gospel is not just an historical record. It is also a theological reflection that is meant to bring others and us to faith in Jesus, the Savior, who is Messiah and Lord. The Gospel of Luke, as are the other three Gospels, was written to have us come to believe in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. And, if we already believe, the Gospels help us to reclaim, strengthen, and deepen that faith every time we hear the Word of God spoken to us.
Among other things, we will find that Luke gives more attention to the poor (both materially and spiritually poor), the role of women as disciples of Jesus, healing (Luke was a physician), prayer, the need to persist, and some details of the life of Christ that are not found in the other Gospels (e.g., Mary’s great Magnificat at the Annunciation is only found in the Gospel of Luke).
For Luke, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise of the savior. The wait for someone to come who will forgive our sins and lead us to the Kingdom of Heaven is over.
The second part of today’s Gospel is set in a synagogue where Jesus had grown up. Jesus took the scroll from the Old Testament, opened it up and began to read the passage from Isaiah about the one anointed by God, who brings glad tidings to the poor, proclaims liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom for the oppressed, and a time of favor from the Lord. Then, rolling the scripture back up in a dramatic fashion, Jesus makes this bombshell announcement, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus is very clear in his mission. He, the Messiah, has arrived and has begun his work!
May Luke’s Gospel, as we read this next year, help to deepen our own faith in Jesus as our Messiah, Savior, and Lord. The time of fulfillment has arrived once again today in our hearing of this beautiful Gospel, written by Saint Luke.
Have a blessed week everyone.