The Feast of St. Luke
[Scripture Readings: 2Tim 4: 9-17b; Lk 10: 1-9]
One of the more obvious facts of contemporary life is that we have developed an extremely sophisticated communication technology, and the level of sophistication is increasing at a rate that some of us have difficulty keeping up with. We take speed of communication for granted. Even snail mail travels considerably faster than it did not so long ago. When it comes to breadth, whether it is e-mail, phone calls or television, most of the world seems almost down the street. Ironically, or perhaps not, along with the increases in sophistication of our communication technology, the number of articles, books and workshops to help overcome confusion in communication have also increased. In spite of, or perhaps because of our advances in technology frustration because of miscommunication is still with us.
If this is true when we try to communicate our own words, what about when we try to communicate God’s word? Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples with a straightforward message: the kingdom of God is near. At another place in the gospel Jesus says that the kingdom of God is among us. As Christians every one of us has the mission to spread that same good news. How effective are we at communicating it?
To answer that question I think it would be premature to look immediately at communication techniques. The first question I have to ask myself is, Am I convinced that the kingdom of God is near? Do I think it is beginning among us now, or do I push its coming off into an indefinite future? Do I see signs of the kingdom around me? Do I manifest signs of the kingdom to those I encounter?
The New Testament has a number of summaries of the signs that indicate the presence of God’s kingdom. One that I often look to is chapter 13 of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. For Paul the sign of the kingdom above all other signs is love and love is manifested in patience, kindness, not giving in to jealousy or boasting; being humble and considerate of others and cooperative; not losing my temper or holding grudges; persevering in charity in difficult situations. These signs remind us that there are ways to communicate other than in words. In fact if the reality of these signs is not present, the words have little meaning. The gospel has to be lived and by living the gospel we can all be evangelists whatever our situation or talents may be. Not only can we all be evangelists by living the gospel, we all have an obligation to be evangelists by living the gospel.
To carry out our commission we need to take Jesus’ instructions to his disciples to heart. We need to put our trust in God to support us. We need to accept reality as it is, and not give in to discouragement even if like Paul we find ourselves in distressing situations and feel left alone. Christ has promised to be with us and in faith we will have to rely on that promise when circumstances try our faith.
Now as then the work to be done is great and more laborers are always needed. We have all been called to work in the Lord’s harvest. He has called us and he has promised to send his Spirit to guide and support us. It is up to us to accept his call.