OCTOBER 18: FEAST OF ST.LUKE, APOSTLE
Dutiful Anglers and Labourers of the Kingdom
Christ always intended his disciples and apostles to imitate him in every aspect of his human and divine life (Matt.16:24-26; Jn.21:19). Intentionally, Jesus stressed the importance of “Hardship of the apostolic calling” especially when some opportunists saw lucrative opportunities to make a name for themselves. They tried to insert themselves into his company for their namesake. Jesus immediately corrected their misconceptions. He assured them that those who embrace the apostolic calling must ready themselves to embrace a radical sense of detachment from all earthly investments, a disinterest in family bond, to divest themselves of all forms of duplicity and vacillation in exchange for a keen interest in the proclamation of the kingdom (Lk.9:57-62). In other words, Christ envisioned that those who embrace the apostolic call would make themselves poor for the spiritual enrichment of others as Christ himself did (2Cor.8:9).
Purposefully Christ named his disciples and apostles fishers of men and labourers. He placed them at the end of the procession; he made them a spectacle to the whole world and like fools for him (1Cor.4:9-10). Truly, in today’s world, anglers and labourers do not command the respect of the society in which they live, work, and enrich the people who benefit from the arduous labour. Despite their onerous task, love for their mission and their harvest, anglers and labourers are never deterred. They traverse the dangerous seas and plough the land giving life and health to those who disdain them in the public arena. In other words, the vision and mission of the apostolic call is empathy and solidarity even when greeted with ingratitude.
Nuances of empathy are profound in the voice of Christ when he laments over the plight of the world and the unwillingness of his own creation to become anglers of his sea and labourers in his vineyard. “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few (Lk.10:2).” Christ is moved with compassion by the high level of religious ignorance still plaguing the world. There is a crop of souls in the fields ready for harvest but like Demas (2Tim.4:10) the lure of this world keeps distracting the disciples and apostles of Christ. The fear of persecution keeps sending many into seclusion. The anglers and labourers are increasingly silent while the crops go to waste.
Anglers and labourers must be familiar with their terrain and the nature of their crops. They must have a vision and a mission to optimize both the quality and marketing of their crops. Square pegs in round holes are recipes for disaster, mass casualties and the demise of the vessels and the fields. The souls in need of harvesting today are in critical distress not only for the shortage of labourers but for uncaring labourers and reckless anglers who are in it for their own selfish motives.
Celebrating the memory of St. Luke the Apostle, today, the Church must once again take a critical look at its mission in the world and its vision for the souls placed in her care. Special attention should be paid to the appointments of bishops, priestly assignments if we are working towards a bountiful harvest; good stewardship must a deep and permanent concern for the Church at all levels. Otherwise, the crops will perish in the fields as the disciples and apostles seek to relinquish the post as fishers of men and labourers in the vineyard.
Lord, make us a little more conscientious than we are now. St. Luke, pray for us that God’s be done in our lives.