We are currently in Year C of the cycle of Readings for Sunday Mass, the year of Luke. St Luke was, according to tradition, a Physician and in addition to writing the third Gospel, wrote a history of the early Church: The Acts of the Apostles. Our Blessed Lady is said to have had a special affection for him, which was reciprocated by St Luke painting her. The picture of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, Health of the Roman People which is enshrined in the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome, is believed to be a very close copy of that original painting.
The Gospel of this Sunday relates how Jesus preaches to the crowds from Peter’s boat. He then goes on to direct him and the other Apostles how to be effective fishermen; but the lesson is really one in showing them how they would catch souls for Christ and His Church. Our Lord calls us all to be apostles in the middle of the world, whether we are sitting at a desk, ploughing the land, in a great city or in a tiny village. He calls us all, so that with holiness of life and by giving good human example, we may be good instruments of Christ in a world that seems to turn its back on Him.
The Epistle at Mass this Sunday is the great hymn of Charity written by St Paul. He outlines the qualities of Christian charity, without which life lacks its prime and essential ingredient. The most sublime eloquence, and all the good works imaginable would be like the fading reverberation of a gong, lasting for a few moments, and then fading away to oblivion. Without charity, the Apostles says, even the greatest gifts are of little value.
When we come to Holy Mass, we stand in an attitude of watchfulness to hear the Gospel as it is proclaimed. We begin the reading of St Luke’s Gospel this weekend. It is the Good News about Jesus Christ because it brings us the hope of salvation. We know and we believe that in the Gospel God Himself is really speaking to us. St Augustine gives us some lovely advice which may help us: We must not say ‘happy were those who could see Him’, for many of those who saw Him crucified Him, and many of those who have not seen Him believed in Him.The very words that came from the Lord’s lips were written down and kept and preserved for us.