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Now that we have completed our Christmas celebration, we enter Ordinary Time in winter.  In 2019 the Sunday Gospel readings come from St. Luke.  We have already heard from Luke throughout Advent and Christmas with some of the most familiar and cherished stories that are unique to his Gospel.  So let’s consider Luke, the exquisite storyteller with a keen eye for deep characters, poignant storylines, rich ironies and heartwarming endings, and so be better prepared to hear the familiar and unfamiliar with renewed attention.

                Luke accentuates the dramatic immediacy of salvation by the strategic user of the word today, fulfillment “today,” salvation “today,” paradise “today.” His humane outlook finds deep resonance with Jesus’ concern for people’s healing and salvation.  Unlike Mark’s rough prophet, Matthew’s wise teacher or John’s mystical divine, Luke’s Jesus is the herald of healing and peace, the good and gentle savior.  At the same time, Luke is blunt about the demands on Jesus’ disciples; take up your cross daily and leave everything to follow me.

                Luke emphasizes certain features missing form, or only mentioned in passing, in the other Gospels, the important place of joy, prayer in all circumstance, the constant presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus friendship with women, and his teaching on hospitality and the right attitude toward wealth.  And many of the well-known parables are found only in Luke: the Good Samaritan, The woman’s lost coin, the Prodigal Son, the rich man and Lazarus, the Pharisee and the tax collector.

                In the opening verses, Luke addresses his Gospel to “God’s friend,” a symbol for any seeker hoping to more fully understand Jesus, as Luke identifies his single aim, “that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”

                                                                                                               

                                                                     Adapted from “At Home with the Word - 2019

                                                                                                     Liturgy Training Publications