Feast of St. Luke
2 Timothy 4:10-17b
Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me …Luke is the only one with me. 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. 2 Tm 4:10-17b
By way of reflection for this feast of St. Luke I would like to send a letter to Luke.
"Dear Luke, please accept my most sincere thanks for taking all the time to write your gospel. I know that you and Matthew were peeking over each other’s shoulders, especially Mark’s.
"I guess what really strikes me this year as I reflect on you is the mention that St. Paul makes of you in his letter to Timothy. What makes it more interesting is that Paul is going through some lonely times. He has been abandonned by so many at a time of great need. And there you are…’Luke is the only one with me.’ I think we both know how important the presence of a person is when we are in trouble, either self- inflicted or other-inflicted. I wonder, though, if that could have ended up putting a lot of pressure on you to support him.
"Oh, I know that Paul wrote: ‘…but the Lord stood by me and gave me strength…’ It’s right that Paul does indicate this source of presence and strength which comes from the Lord. I know a lot of people who will affirm God’s presence when things have gotten dark and lonely. They really mean it. But there is that other presence…of a wife, a husband, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, a grandma, a grandpa, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a classmate, a close friend, a fellow worker, a fellow parishioner, a Priest, a Sister, a Brother, a Deacon, a caring stranger….gosh, where does the list end? There they sit in front of us telling us that we are not alone. And the neat thing is that we can also do the same for a hurting person…‘I’m here, you are not alone.’.
"I think, Luke, that is what I wanted to thank you for! You must have received a lot of kudos for taking all the time to gather, interview, sift and write your gospel. It’s one thing to hand someone a copy of the gospel which is so rich, affirming, hopeful, comforting, exhilarating and faith-filled and suggest that the person read it. But what is striking me about you and Paul is that you hung in there with him. You were there. You didn’t abandon him. He could read that so clearly. Not in a rolled up papyrus containing bits and pieces of what would become your ‘good news’. No. You were a living book of love and friendship that could be read loud and clear.
"Luke, my brother, would you pray for all of us still here on earth?"
Fr. Peter Berendt, C.P. is a member of St. Paul of the Cross Community in Detroit, Michigan.