Dear Parish Family,
Back in the 1960s the biggest headline in the Catholic Church was Mass changing from Latin to English. With that change, the format of our prayer went from a Medieval structure back to a closer reenactment of the way early Christians prayed when the Church was young, just after the time of the Apostles. But one of the biggest changes that didn’t make the headlines was the unveiling of a new Lectionary, the book that puts the key readings from the Bible into a three-year cycle. Each time we come to Mass, we’re hearing readings that were proclaimed three years ago on this date. Because Advent is the beginning of a new church year as we prepare for the birth of Christ, so is it the beginning of a new cycle of readings.
Each of those years is labeled A, B or C.
The A Year readings are from the Gospel of Matthew.
Year B comes mainly from the Gospel of
Mark, with a smattering of readings from
Year C, the one we now begin, comes from the Gospel of Luke. (And truth be told, I think it may be my favorite of the three.)
Luke was a faithful follower of Jesus but he was not Jewish. His Gospel was written from an outsider’s perspective and was written for other outsiders, so they would hear about Jesus and fall in love with him and his path the way that Luke did. Because of this, Luke’s Gospel has the most stories about outsiders and about the love Jesus had for them. Children, sinners, outcasts, foreigners, poor people… all are loved and included in Jesus’ plans for salvation. Women feature most prominently in this Gospel. Some of our favorites of all the stories in the Bible are Luke’s, such as the parable of the prodigal son (15:11–32), the good Samaritan (10:29–37), the lost coin (15:8–10), the rich man and Lazarus (16:19–31), and the proud Pharisee & repentant tax collector (18:9–14).
Luke wrote not only the Gospel with his name, but also the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which makes a perfect “second volume” of his work. If you were on a deserted island and all you had to read was Luke and Acts, in a sense you’d have all you’d need.
See if you can notice the beautiful inclusive tone that is woven into the Gospels this upcoming year. (And enjoy knowing that, although I could never choose a favorite Gospel, if I were ever forced to, Luke just may be the winner.)