And as I've been turning my attention back to the Gospel of Luke in preparation for our summer and fall preaching series, I've been reminded that God's grace not only precedes but follows the saving work of Jesus.
Luke begins his Gospel this way: "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught" (Lk 1:1-4, ESV).
A few quick observations: (1) There was (and is) the actual event of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection itself in human history, these are "the the things that have been accomplished among us;" (2) there was the preaching and proclamation of those events by eyewitnesses, "those who from the beginning (i.e. when it happened) were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word" (please notice that they were ministers, they served the message, they didn't make it up); (3) there was and is the Scriptures, which are the trustworthy and authoritative writings that we have, "it seemed good to me . . . to write."
And why? "That you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught."
We don't follow a made up gospel in the midst of a cloud of uncertainty. God the Father sent His Son Jesus to save us, and he did just that. The people who saw it and were saved by Jesus were sent by Jesus to spread the news about what He and His Father had done, are doing, and will do. And people like Luke wrote it down so that people like us can have certainty (real knowledge) about the message we hear from faithful priests and bishops who continue to share the truth about what Jesus actually did, is doing, and will do.
What wonderful reminders. God sends John the Baptist before Jesus. God sends Jesus. And God sends the Apostles to spread the word and evangelists to write down and confirm the word.
What goodness and grace! As St. John the Apostle writes, "And from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace" (Jn 1:16).
I'm excited about this series in Luke, and I anticipate many gifts of God's grace as we grow in certainty, assurance, and real knowledge of the things God has accomplished in Jesus.
Readings for Sunday, June 27, 2010:
1 Kings 19:15-21
Our Wednesday evening Bible study following the 6pm Mass will cover Amos chapters 7-9.
A few final reminders: Please keep each other in your prayers as we travel and enjoy our summers. Please be faithful in your regular Sunday worship when you are in town (and even on the road, if possible). And please make the effort to stay faithful in your giving, especially over the summer months.
Blessings to you all,