3RD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
LUKE 1: 1 – 4; 4: 14 – 21
Has it occurred to you that this is the Year of Luke? This is my Year of Luke! This is my opportunity to get to know Jesus through the Gospel of Luke. Luke, the great artist, paints word pictures of Jesus for us. Let us pray.
Father, you gave St Jerome and St Paula delight in their study of Holy Scripture. May we find in your word the flood of salvation and the fountain of life that you have promised, through Christ Our Lord.
This prayer, today, is fitting. Saints Jerome and Paula were certainly “servants of the Word.” They worked long and hard with the translation of the Scriptures thus making them available to a much wider audience.
You will have noticed that today’s reading is made up of two parts. The first is the opening statement and the second comes from chapter four. This second incident in the reading takes place early in Jesus ministry in his home town, Nazareth. It could easily be called, Jesus’ mission statement. One can also look at this as Luke’s mission statement, his purpose for writing his Gospel
We are going to concentrate on the first part. I have included this text below. Read it slowly and carefully. This will be very instructive.
Luke 1: 1 – 4
1Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account
of the events that have been fulfilled among us,
2just as they were handed on to us
by those who from the beginning
were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,
3I too decided, after investigating everything carefully
from the very first, to write an orderly account for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
4so that you may know the truth
concerning the things about which you have been instructed.
Luke wrote a two-volume work; The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Acts of the Apostles. Both these works were addressed to Theophilus. There is much speculation as to who Theophilus was. We simply do not know. The meaning of Theophilus is, ‘Lover of God’ or ‘Beloved of God’. Either way, the Gospel is addressing you and me.
‘Theophilus’ was a gentile who had been converted to Christianity. It appears that he had some doubts that needed to be resolved (4so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.) This is also true of us. Of necessity, we have questions, doubts, concerns as we grow in our understanding of Scripture and as we grow in our relationship with Jesus.
By the time Luke came to write his Gospel, there was a great deal of written material doing the rounds among the Christian Community. Some of it, like Luke’s books, were thoroughly authentic, however, there must have been many books the contents of which was doubtful. Among Luke’s sources were; about one-third of his material comes from Mark; 230 verses were taken from Matthews gospel; the remaining third is Luke’s own material. Some of this was based on other written material, copies of which have not survived 2000 years. Luke must also have gathered oral material from those who had been eyewitnesses.
The more he read, the more these texts impacted on his life. The more we expose ourselves to the Word the more it will touch our lives. Again and again, these writings were the source of his prayer; it was in prayer that he came to a true understanding of Christ Risen. By bringing the Scriptures to prayer we too will meet Christ Risen.
Luke gives us a broad picture of Jesus and his teachings. He wanted his community to see Jesus as: ‘A man of prayer’; ‘The friend of the poor and down-trodden’; ‘A man dedicated to raising the status of women’; ‘A friend of gentiles’; ‘A teacher who gave us authentic teaching on the right use of money’; ‘A person open to the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit in his life’.
By the end of this liturgical year may we have come to know Jesus, so that we too ‘may know the truth concerning the things about which we have been instructed.’