The Sunday Gospels are segments of a larger theme that the Evangelist is developing. When we read each Gospel, it is important to understand it in its context and how it is related to the theme being developed.
The Gospels of this season (Ordinary Sundays 24 to 28) are the second part (Luke 13:22 to Luke 17:19) of the teaching of Jesus about the Christian way on his way to Jerusalem.
The Gospel of Luke was written at the beginning of the decade of the 70, when the primitive church had composed its first catechism, titled Didache ("The Apostles Doctrine). In this catechism, Christian life was called "The Way," based on the Gospel of Luke.
Our season starts with three parables (Luke 15:10-32, Sunday 24) that show God’s mercy to the sinners. His mercy is as great as that of a shepherd who loses a sheep, a woman who loses a coin and a father who loses a son. All three let go of everything to search for their loses.
The Gospels of Sundays 25 and 26 (Luke 16:10-13 and 19-31) teach the theme of using possessions to benefit others, particularly those in need. The first parable of an unjust servant presents a person to be imitated for his cunning not for his injustice.
The second parable presents the change in the next life of the conditions one had in the present life. The Gospel of Sunday 27 (Luke 17:5-10) is the end of the second section of the narrations of the way to Jerusalem and presents the theme of the renewal of the disciples. Above all, they need a deep faith in God, in Jesus Christ. Even though they fulfill their duties, they cannot be deserving of God’s goodness, because it is free.
The last passage of this season talks about the gratitude and faith of the Samaritan leper (17:11-19, Sunday 28). Jesus is who heals from disease and restores one to the confluence of daily life. Our readings of the way of Christian life and of Jesus end here, but both ways continue until fulfilling the will of the Father.
Father Tracy serves as senior priest at Rochester’s St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish.