“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." Lk 10:2
St Luke is credited with writing Acts of the Apostles as well as the Gospel, in all more than 25% of the New Testament. Sometimes called the Gospel of St Paul because Luke often traveled with Paul and was his disciple, Luke wrote primarily for Gentiles. Not as concerned as Matthew's gospel with demonstrating that Jesus was a Jew and the new Moses, Luke writes about the poor, women, the sick and the underclass, assuring the Gentiles that the Gospel of Jesus was intended for all people, not just the Jews.
How we proclaim Jesus to people from different cultures, nations and races is critical to inserting the Gospel into places it has never been heard. We know this not only because so many believers before us lived the Good News with passion, but also by their mistakes. If Christianity is proclaimed as a religion of the West, especially the European West with all of its cultural symbols and rituals, it will never become the Good News about which Luke wrote.
The early church struggled mightily with this issue. Not sure how much Jewish law should be imposed on Gentiles, St Paul was a strong advocate for the Gentiles when he insisted that those who were not born Jews did not have to become Jews in order to know the Lord and be baptized.
We need to remember this lesson as 21st century disciples. As nations around the world find their own identity, they need to know that the Gospel will marry with their culture without destroying it, and the Christianity they embrace can celebrate the great mysteries of faith in a way that makes cultural sense to them. Knowing this will free those new to the Gospel to hear and embrace, in their own cultural context, the freedom that Jesus promises to all.
Today, ask St Luke for the grace to know how to speak the Gospel to all those struggling with faith.
What do you think missionaries in the 21st century ought to emphasize about the Gospel?