Acceptable 2010 starts with St. Luke

The Hoyas tore up the hapless Rutgers Scarlet Knights this afternoon.

The most interesting part of the game was a Subway radio commercial. The delirious announcer promises a hot pastrami sandwich, “We will follow you blindly, like nearsighted bison on a flavor stampede.”

Here is a homily for tomorrow’s Holy Mass:

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you. (Luke 1:1-3)

In the synagogue in Nazareth, the Lord Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has sent me to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Our kind and loving Creator is giving us this year of 2010. He has given us almost a month of it already. What are we going to do with this precious gift?

We are not little amoebas floating in the waters of time. We are not bystanders of 2010, watching it flow by, as it becomes the kind of year that is not acceptable to God, with nothing for us to do about it. No. We can take a firm grip on A.D. 2010 and turn it into something beautiful and good.

Now, let me tell you the first thing we are going to do to make this year acceptable. This year we are going to read the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

The beginning of our gospel reading this morning might have been a bit stunning. The gospel passage we heard is the only time in the whole three-year cycle of gospel readings when the human author refers to himself in the first person. St. Luke wrote, “I too have decided, after investigating everything anew, to write it down in an orderly manner for you.” This year, we will read from this orderly account which St. Luke generously wrote down for us.

Why did he write it? Of course he wrote it because the Holy Spirit so willed. But the Holy Spirit used St. Luke’s human reasons. What were St. Luke’s human reasons for writing?

Many have undertaken to compile a narrative of events. I have investigated everything anew to write it down in an orderly sequence. (Luke 1:1, 3)

The Lord Jesus was famous during His life on earth. After He rose from the dead and sent His Apostles to preach the Gospel, He became a lot more famous.

The same thing happened to Christ that happens to all famous people: Some people began telling stories about Him that were not true.

The Apostles of course taught the truth. The Apostles were eyewitnesses. This is what we call the Sacred Tradition of the Church: the infallible teaching the Apostles gave about Christ from the very beginning. This teaching has been handed down to us through an unbroken chain of approximately a hundred generations.

Alongside the true teaching about Christ that has always been given in the Church, there also has been false teaching about Him.

St. Luke was one of the first to sort truth from fiction so that his readers could “realize the certainty of the teachings we have received.”

St. Luke assumes the following about us, his readers:

  1. He assumes that we love God and that we are reading his book because we want to know more about God.
  2. St. Luke assumes that we are Christians who recognize that we have been given our faith and the grace of Christ by our spiritual mother, the Catholic Church.
  3. And St. Luke assumes that we are seeking certitude. We want to know the truth. We want to know for sure what we are supposed to do to please God.

The Holy Scriptures do not teach opinions. We are not free to agree or disagree, to take it or leave it. The Scriptures give us the truth. The truth makes demands on us. We must obey.

Okay. Now we are ready to read. We are grateful to St. Luke for his work. We can pray to him to intercede for us, that we will benefit spiritually by studying his gospel. We are ready to receive Luke’s great gift to us and spend the year taking it in–with attention, obedience, and love.

What does St. Luke serve up for us first? –The Lord Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the sabbath. He read aloud a prophecy about the Messiah. Then Jesus said…

What did He say? Who was paying attention? Come on, don’t go ignoring the holy words of St. Luke’s gospel, if you want your 2010 to be acceptable to God. What did the Lord Jesus say about the prophecy He read out, the prophecy about the coming of the Messiah?

Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.

The first teaching we get from St. Luke this year is: Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. He is the anointed One. He is the Christ.

Jesus has liberated us from captivity to sin. He has freed us to live as His beloved children. He has opened our blind eyes, so that we can hope to see God.

A.D. 2010 is A.D. 2010, dear brothers and sisters, because God became man. The year belongs to us because it belongs to Christ.

And it belongs to Christ’s faithful scribe, St. Luke. We can’t wait to hear more. In fact, I am sure that we are so eager that we are going to start reading the gospel at home!

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