Deputy Principal - Mission and Faith

2016 – The Year of the Gospel of Luke

The Catholic Church’s year starts with the first Sunday of Advent, which was on the 29 November 2015.  The new liturgical year is also when the Catholic Church starts a new lectionary cycle (A, B, or C) of Bible readings.  These cycles are a result of the Second Vatican Council, which ordered a change in the Sunday readings at Mass so that Catholics would become more familiar with the text of the Bible.  As a result we now have a three-year cycle of readings built around readings from the three synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Since 29 November last year we have been in Year C, the year of the Gospel of Luke.

The Gospel of Luke is the third and longest of the four Gospels.  It tells us of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  It is the first of a two volume work from the same author, the Acts of the Apostles being the second volume.  The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of first century Christianity from its time in Jerusalem to its arrival in Rome and focuses on the key figures of James, Peter and Paul.

Scripture scholars date the Gospel of Luke from around the 80-100 AD period.  The original text has not survived with the oldest copies we have coming from the second century.  Luke was written to be read aloud to a group of the followers of Jesus as they gathered in a house to share the Lord’s Supper.  It begins, “Dear Theophilus” which means lover or friend of God.  The Gospel then goes on to narrate the births of both John the Baptist and Jesus, Jesus’ mission in Galilee, his journey to Jerusalem, his confrontation with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, Jesus’ Last Supper, his arrest, torture and crucifixion, his resurrection and ascension into glory.

Luke’s main aim in writing the Gospel is to demonstrate to the listener that God is saving his people from the beginning of time at creation and that Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed one of God.  Jesus is the Lord, the Son of God and the Son of Man.

For me, there are two themes within the Gospel of Luke I am fascinated by:  the role of women in Luke and Luke’s use of the Banquet Motif.  I hope to write about these themes in future issues of the Newsletter.  Enjoy the year of Luke!