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THE MESSAGE OF AN EVANGELIST
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist, October 18, 2012
2 Tim. 4:9-17, Ps. 144, Luke 10:1-9


"And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest'" (Luke 10:2).


Today is the feast of St. Luke, evangelist. He preached the gospel and wrote one of the four gospels. Today too we need evangelists who clearly preach the good news of God's salvation in Jesus Christ. "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2).


How many workers do we have who clearly preach the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ? I include myself in this, for although I have spent many years preaching, it seems to me that I didn't really and clearly understand the heart of the gospel until I retired. So now I am trying with my website and email to make up for lost time.


As I write this, the bishops are meeting in Rome at the Synod of Bishops discussing the New Evangelization. St. Luke was an evangelist. What is an evangelist? There are many preachers, but what is the central core of the gospel message? And how many of these preachers really and clearly preach this central core and make it central to their own preaching? The gospel needs to be preached anew every day in a fresh way. How many preach the central core of the gospel, namely that all who accept Christ with faith can be justified and saved with all their sins forgiven through the death of the Son of God, crucified as a criminal on a cross, whose death makes perfect reparation and satisfaction for all the sins of those who receive him with faith?


How many preachers do not clearly preach this central core of the gospel and make it central to their own preaching? Amos prophesied about this situation: "‘Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it'" (Amos 8:11-12).


The harvest is great, but true laborers are few. "Do you not say ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest'" (John 4:35).


We need to hear a message of salvation. We need a Savior. We cannot save ourselves nor make ourselves righteous before God. We have not succeeded in doing this. And the gospel, the good news that we preach is that there is a Savior who will save us from our sins and make us righteous and resplendent before God. This Savior is Jesus Christ, and he saves us through his death on the cross, when we put our faith in him. He bore our punishment for our sins on the cross on our behalf, and this is activated for us when we believe in him, invoking the merits of his death on the cross, where he reconciled the world with the Father. His resurrection then completes his death. It is his triumph over death, which is the punishment for sin (Gen. 2:17). Saving us by his death, he illuminates us and gives us new life in his resurrection.


This is the message that we preach, following in the footsteps of St. Luke, the evangelist (Luke 24:46-48; Acts 5:30-32; 13:38-39). This is also the heart of the New Evangelization, about which the Church is now concerned.

 

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