Prayer and Meditation for Tuesday, October, 18, 2016 — Jesus Instructs the disciples

Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist
Lectionary: 661

Art: St. Luke, Evangelist, by Guido Reni (1621)

Reading 1 2 TM 4:10-17B

Demas, enamored of the present world,
deserted me and went to Thessalonica,
Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
Luke is the only one with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is helpful to me in the ministry.
I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas,
the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm;
the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
You too be on guard against him,
for he has strongly resisted our preaching.At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18

R. (12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Alleluia SEE JN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 10:1-9

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”




Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:10-17b; Ps 145; Luke 10:1-9 From Living Space


The Gospel reading comes – appropriately – from Luke. It is a description of Jesus sending out 72 disciples in pairs to every town and place that he himself was going to visit. As mentioned in the word picture given above, there is a tradition that Luke was one of these, although there is no way to confirm it as a fact. At the same time, what Luke describes here must also have matched in many ways his own experience as a missionary in the company of Paul in their journeys through Asia Minor and Greece and, finally, in Rome.
Jesus begins by reminding his disciples that there is a huge harvest out there and that many workers are needed to bring it in. As he sends them out with a message of love to the world, he warns them not to be surprised if they meet with opposition. They will be like a flock of lambs among a pack of wolves. Luke must have seen this happen many times in the company of Paul.
They are to travel with the absolute minimum of belongings – not even a staff or travelling bag. They are to walk in their bare feet and not to waste time chatting idly with people they meet on the way. Much of this must have been practised by Jesus himself, who did not even have his own bed to sleep in.  When they enter any house offering them hospitality, they are to wish God’s peace on that house. But, if they are not accepted, they are to leave without a blessing. And, on their travels, they are to stay in the one house, satisfied with whatever is offered them. On the one hand, because of the work they are doing, they deserve to be taken care of. At the same time, they are not to be hopping from house to house in search of better conditions and more comfort.
Once welcomed in any place, they are to preach their message which is twofold. On the one hand, they are to bring healing to all those who need it and they are to proclaim that “the Reign of God is at hand”.   This Reign of God is personified, of course, in Jesus himself who will be coming to these places after his disciples. The Reign of God comes into existence when people lead their lives according to the will of God – when they are people filled with love and compassion, ready and eager to serve each other, attending to people’s genuine needs and in general sharing with each other everything they have.
We are grateful to Luke for the wonderful picture of Jesus he has given us and in telling us how Jesus’ disciples, especially Paul, put the Gospel of Jesus into action and brought the message of the Kingdom all the way to Rome, then the capital and administrative centre of their world. And from Rome it would extend to the furthest corners of our planet.
The First Reading is taken from the Second Letter to Timothy. Here Paul, who is now a prisoner in Rome and awaiting execution, complains of his loneliness and asks Timothy, who seems to be in Ephesus to come and join him. Many of his companions (e.g. Demas) have left him or he has sent them (e.g. Tychicus) away on some mission. However, one person is still with him and that is Luke. Timothy is also asked to bring Mark along.
Paul regrets that during his trial no one stood by him. (Paul’s experience is not unlike that of his Master, Jesus.) But through it all, God has stood by him and given him the strength to complete his mission that all nations would hear the message of the Gospel.
Let us, too, make the message of Luke’s gospel and the Acts part of us and be ready, even in difficult circumstances, to live and spread it in all the situations of our life.


Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
 18 OCTOBER 2016, Tuesday, St Luke the Evangelist


SCRIPTURE READINGS: [  2 TIM 4:9-17; LK 10:1-9 ]Today we celebrate the Feast of St Luke, an apostle of the Good News.  We know that Luke is the writer of one of the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and also a companion of St Paul in his missionary journeys.  Like him too, we are called to be messengers of the Good News.  Indeed, many of us take this commission of Jesus seriously for as the gospel appeals to us, “The harvest is rich but the workers are few.”  Yes, today there are many people in the world who are awaiting the Good News, many are lost and have no meaning in life and many are still searching for direction; thus the urgency of bringing the Good News to them.  This was why the disciples of Jesus were told to “greet no one along the way” in case they forget or neglect their mission while making friends and having fellowship.

Yet, although many of us are carrying out this command of Jesus, the irony is that the supposedly Good News which we are called to bring to non-believers has become Bad News to them.  How could this have happened?  This is due to our wrong attitude and approach to evangelization.  For some, getting people to accept the Good News must be done at all cost, even to the extent of compelling them to accept it.  This is true, especially if they are their loved ones since they would like them very much to share in their faith.  As if this is not bad enough, some of us even go to the extent of belittling and ridiculing the religious beliefs of others.

Of course when we attack other people’s beliefs, they become even more resentful of us and become closed to whatever we want to say.  Instead of seeing us as people of the Good News, we are now perceived as people of the Bad News.   This in turn makes us annoyed with them due to their intransigence and their lack of response.  But when we are transformed from loving people to angry people, this surely contradicts what the gospel tells us about the need to remain at peace even if others reject the peace we bring.  Yes, Jesus said that “On entering any house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’  If there is a peaceable man there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will come back to you.”

Hence, it is important that we ask ourselves, why are we angry with those who do not accept the Good Newswe are offering them?  If we are angry with those who reject the Good News we bring, is it because we are angry that they are rejecting the message or because they are rejecting us?  Let me give you an analogy in life.  Some of us get very angry with those who reject our gifts.  Now, if we are angry that our friends have rejected our gifts, isn’t it because we need them to receive the gifts so that we might feel happy for ourselves, that we are good and caring people?  For many of us, when our gifts are rejected, it is tantamount to a personal rejection.  They also deprive us of the joy of giving, and perhaps our need to feel superior and useful and good.

Consequently, we must be honest enough to admit that if others reject our gifts or the Good News we bring, it is not because we care about them, but we care about ourselves more than them.  It is because our ego and pride is hurt that we become angry.  If not why should we be angry?  Why should we get irritated if a person does not want the gifts we give them, especially when he sincerely does not need them?  We should be too happy to take back the gifts and pass them to those who need them. There is no need to be angry.  That is why Jesus tells us if others reject our peace, then it comes back to us.  If we are truly happy for the person, would we not only want what is best and can make him happy, rather than making ourselves happy?

Perhaps, others feel angry because they feel guilty.  They think that they are responsible if their loved ones are not converted.  They think that conversion is the result of their efforts rather than the work of God.  Thus, guilt makes them angry and resentful of others.  The truth is that ultimately, conversion is the action of the Holy Spirit and not ours.

Jesus in the gospel asks us to be patient and to give freedom to our recipients.  This is very clear when He told His disciples not to impose their message of peace on others.  St Paul himself in the first reading precisely adopted such an attitude when he wrote of how his fellow associate, Demas, had left him for the world.  Furthermore, when he had to stand on trial alone because everyone deserted him, he prayed that nothing would be held against them.  Such also was the attitude of Jesus when He was hanging on the cross, for He said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”  Indeed, if people reject our offer of the Good News, it is simply because they are ignorant.  They do not see the Good News as really good for them.  Hence, instead of getting angry with them, we should show even more empathy and understanding.

So, the question is, how can one be so open to such a way of relating with people who are not interested in the Good News?  The key lies in the Spirit of poverty.  This is the deeper meaning of what Jesus wants to tell us in the gospel when He told His disciples not to carry a walking staff, a travelling bag or to wear sandals.  He was not simply speaking about material detachments.  This is of course included.  But more importantly, He was speaking of the emotional, psychological baggages that we carry with us in our proclamation of the Good News.  These baggages are our deep insecurities, our need for attention, for acceptance, for power and control over others.   Yes, the baggages we carry in the secular world are normally transformed into the religious sphere when we become so-called religious people.  The same old pursuits continue but only in a subtle way, in a new form, namely, that of spiritual power, greed and superiority.

How then can we learn to let go of all these baggages?  We can let go completely, even those whom we desire to convert, only when we ourselves have experienced the unconditional love of God in our lives.  Once we have experienced the love of Jesus, we will find so much happiness in it, that our happiness will no longer be dependent on people; and surely not on whether they accept the Good News or not, or whether they are converted to the Lord.  Of course, we will be happy for them if they really find the Lord in their lives.  This is our wish for them.  But note that does not mean our happiness is dependent on them.  We must be interiorly happy and then this happiness increases when they too share in our happiness.

For if we are truly happy Christians then our happiness must not be dependent on others’ happiness nor on their conversion.  If not, it seems that the conversion of others is not for their own sake but for ours.  If not, it seems that we convert them to make ourselves happy and not for their happiness.  Once we are aware that real happiness must come from our own sufficiency in the Lord, like Paul himself who said:  “the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength”, then we can avoid falling into a false messianic zeal – a zeal that springs from our own needs rather than for the well-being of others.

Yes, a true messenger of the Good News is one who has emptied himself of his ego and his impulsive desire to convert others.  The paradox is that when he is emptied of this desire to convert others, he can then share the Good News in a non-threatening way, a sharing that is based on true compassion, love and respect for the other person.  In that way, when the messenger of the Good News becomes the Good News in person, we can be sure that the message would then be more readily given an audience.  In the final analysis, we should simply do our part and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.  What is necessary besides trying to bring them to Christ is that such attempts must be accompanied by fervent intercessory prayer for them and backed up by mortifications and penance.

Written by The Most Rev William Goh


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