Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist. He was a writer and physician who labored to portray for us in the Scriptures the gentleness and compassion of the Lord. He wrote several stories about Jesus healing the sick, or Jesus looking out for the poor and other kinds of people on the margins of society. Luke’s background as a physician certainly contributed to his special concern for the poor, the suffering, the outcasts, and women.
Today in the gospel we hear Luke recount a story about the Lord sending out His followers into the communities to go and heal the sick and bring the Good News to all. He notes in a passing way that the “He sent them in pairs” - He deliberately did not send them out as individuals.
Three African proverbs capture the wisdom of Jesus in His gesture of sending His followers to mission in pairs and not as individuals.
- Those who travel in twos have the advantage of reminding each other. You can remind each other your final destination, the message you are carrying, or the people you sent or meant to see.
- Those who travel in twos can warn each other about a leopard lurking in the bush, because they have an extra set of eyes that can spot and warn them about any dangers.
- If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. If you go together with others you will have their support, encouragement, and their cheer. You are likely to cover a lot of ground without becoming weary.
The Lord desires us to approach life, ministry, and mission in partnership or collaboration with others and not as individuals. He created us for community, and to work in community. But we live in times that are radically individualistic. People talk about “my ministry” “my work” “my this and that” - forgetting the value of the community and relational elements that God desired when He was configuring us to serve Him and others here on earth.
At our very core, the Lord desired us to be interdependent, interconnected, to be collaborative, to network with others. This is not only true on an interpersonal level, but even on a community level, national level, and even an international level. We were created to lean on each other in different ways, and to experience Jesus through others.
May we pray in this Mass that the Lord reminds us of the value of the bonds we share as people. May we ask Him to strengthen those bonds in our families, in our workplace, and in our communities.
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