October 18, Saint Luke, Evangelist
Life of mission
for Demas … deserted me … went to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Luke is the only one with me. Get Mark and bring him with you … have sent Tychicus to Ephesus … Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm …At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me … 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 . 2Tm 4,10-17
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 his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Lk 10,3-7
The one of the missionary is a life of prayer and human relationships. In the today readings the second aspect stands up, but there is a watermark which reveals that the moments spent in prayer are guiding the steps, the thoughts, the feelings, the words and the actions of those who spend their lives to spread the gospel. The today’s passage defines certain rules which constitute the decalogue of the mission. It specifies the essential way to go and dress: “Carry no money bag, no snacks, no sandals” and it calls to not be diverted: “do not stop to greet no one along the way”. It talks of the hospitality and of the food to be accepted with joy and it teaches how to greet when entering an house, “Peace to this household”. It recommends to the gratitude for what is given: “eat and drink what is offered to you” and finally it talks about the deep relationships which need to be established with the people: “Do not move about from one house to another”. The Letter of Paul to Timothy, however, is an outlook which shows how the travelling of the missionary is always aimed to the mission: “Demas …deserted me, Crescent went to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke is the only one with me. Get Mark and bring him with you … have sent Tychicus to Ephesus” and shows how the persecution is always present: “Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm”. Pondering on the today readings, we must acknowledge that also our living and our journey have been planned by the Lord to direct us according to his plan. The Letter of Paul shows, finally, as the missionary is really strong when he is humanly weak: “everyone deserted me….. But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed”. It is the Holy Spirit who leads the mission.