INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
The liturgical year that we are about to begin will be guided by the Gospel of Luke.
During several weeks we will explain who is Luke, his literary style, his language, his Christology.
We will also dedicate some minutes at the beginning of each meeting to go over the outline and the development of this interesting Gospel, so beautifully written. In this way we will be able to have an idea about the theology and Christology of Luke.
Let us begin describing who Luke is:
o It is introduced by Paul as a physician (Col 4:14). He is the only one to mention the sweating of blood at Gethsemane(Lk 22:44)
o Luke had never met Jesus, he tells us that in order to write his gospel he has done an accurate research (Lk 1:3) about the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. He is probably a second generation Christian believer, converted from the pagan world.
o His work is made of the Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles. In the Gospel he writes about Jesus and in the Acts he writes about the Church, the community of the followers of Jesus.
o Luke uses a perfect and beautiful Greek language, the best of the whole New Testament.
o He is spoken of sometimes as an artist who painted Mary. But his best painting of Mary is his Gospel, where he presents Mary as a model of faith, of fidelity and of love toward the God of Israel.
During the times of Advent and Christmas the three readings have the same theme.
FIRST READING – Jeremiah 33: 14-16
« He says that days are coming, but he does not specify what days are those. There are the days of any time, any place, of any person, any community, any nation. These are the days when God makes Himself present in a special way in our life and in our history.
« In those days God will fulfill his promise, what promise? The promise made to the House of Israel, to the House of Judah.
« The promise is described with images taken from the agricultural world: a sprout.
o A sprout speaks to us about newness of life, of promise, of hope, of future.
o This sprout will make justice and, will establish the right on earth.
« The presence of God is in itself this justice, justice that helps us to see and to discern the things in the way God sees them. Justice which makes us just in His likeness.
« This justice will bring salvation and peace to the city of Jerusalem, to the city of mankind. His name will no longer be Jerusalem but: Lord our justice.
What a beautiful and attractive description of what God does for us whenever we welcome Him. He wants to come among us, we need to welcome Him in order to be able to receive his wonderful blessings.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM. Psalm 25 TO YOU O LORD I LIFT UP MY SOUL
The theme of this psalm is the way,
The psalmist asks God to show this way to him, to guide him through it
The Lord shows to the sinners the way, and leads the humble through his paths.
All the paths of the Lord are faithful love toward those who honor the covenant demands.
LORD SHOW US THE WAY
SECOND READING 1Tes 3:12-4,2
Ø This letter is the first written document of the New Testament. Around 50 or 51 AD.
Ø In this letter Paul shows a great optimism in regards to the Second coming of the Lord. Later, as time passes and the Lord does not come yet, Paul and the Church start to reflect on the meaning of the words of Jesus about his return.
Ø In the Reading for this First Sunday of Advent, Paul says to the community of Thessalonica that he wants to go to visit them, and he asks the Lord to grant to the members of the community:
o To grow in mutual and universal love.
o To be strengthened so that they may be ready to go before the Father when Jesus will come with all his saints.
Ø And he asks them, and begs them to live according to what they have been taught by Paul in regards to the way to please God.
He says to them that they already know the instructions that he Paul gave them in the name of Jesus.
GOSPEL Lk 21: 25-28. 34-36
ü The three Synoptic Gospels speak of the Second Coming of Jesus.
ü We find in chapter 21 of the Gospel of Luke the words of Jesus on the last things, the eschatological speech in a apocalyptical style.
ü Its images remain in our imagination, some of these images scare us, and sometimes we ask ourselves: when are we going to see such natural phenomena?
ü In reality we see many natural disasters, some of them very scary, but they are not related to the Second Coming.
ü The description of the natural phenomena are used by the sacred authors to explain the coming of God into our human history, always to save it, never to destroy it. God does not destroy what He has created with so much love. God seeks us so that we may be with Him forever in the eternal embrace.
ü The earthly powers will stumble in his presence, yes, in the presence of God our arrogance will vanish; our omnipotence is transformed into weakness.
ü Let us reflect on our personal encounter with the Lord, probably it has not been spectacular, but our arrogance, our omnipotence, our security in ourselves, our vanity in life, everything has enter into a crisis when we welcome God who reveals Himself to us and reveals the truth of ourselves to us.
ü Luke says that when our human securities are shaken then the Lord will make himself present to us and our liberation will be a reality. Liberation of everything that separates us from our God. Then we start the journey of our conversion which lasts until we will meet the Lord face to face.
ü Verses 34-36 are the second part of the Reading
o Luke through using the words of Jesus exhorts his community to regain enthusiasm to proclaim the Gospel and to live according to it. Since the Second Coming did not happened yet, the community was losing its enthusiasm in the proclamation of the Good News.
o There is still a third coming of the Lord of which we seldom speak. It is his coming into our daily life, into our history, into the life of our communities. And the Lord exhorts us to be vigilant, to live our life responsibly, so that we may be prepared for his coming.
LET US BE PREPARED TO RECEIVE OUR LORD WHEN HE COMES
I knew that I could not practice modesty without the virtue of mortification, so with God's grace, I bent all my forces on acquiring that, cost what it might.
In the first place, then, I strove to deprive myself of every pleasure in order to give pleasure to God. Without knowing how, I felt obliged to fulfill what was a mere proposal. My mind was faced with choosing between my pleasure and God's, and because my mind saw the glaring inequality between the two, even in the slightest matter, I would be forced to choose what then seemed more pleasing to God. I would joyfully abstain from the pleasure in question, to give pleasure to God. This is still the way it is with me in all things: eating, drinking, resting, talking, looking, hearing, going somewhere... Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography, 390-91.
CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiography.
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography.
RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras-Año B. San Pablo 2005.
SCHÖKEL , Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.