We are just two short weeks away from a significant milestone in the Church. Advent begins on December 2, 2018. This also marks the beginning of the new liturgical year. The Sunday readings are divided into three cycles (Cycles A, B, and C) and a different cycle is read during each year.
The 2019 liturgical year is Cycle C and will focus on the Gospel of Luke. In Year A, we read mostly from the Gospel of Matthew. In Year B, we read the Gospel of Mark and chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. In Year C, we read the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of John is read during the Easter season in all three years. The first reading, usually from the Old Testament, reflects important themes from the Gospel reading. The second reading is usually from one of the epistles, a letter written to an early church community.
These letters are read semi-continuously. Each Sunday, we pick up close to where we left off the Sunday before, though some passages are never read. The word gospel means “good news.” Luke’s gospel is the longest, most detailed and orderly written account of the gospel writers. It is also in chronological order. It was written to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). Luke was a Gentile and the only non-Jewish author in all the books in the Bible. Matthew’s gospel was written to the Jews and contains many Old Testament references. Mark was written to the Romans, and John wrote to the Christians or to seekers of God. Matthew emphasizes that Jesus is the Messiah. Mark’s gospel emphasizes Jesus as the suffering Servant. Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus and how He was a friend to sinners, while John’s gospel emphasizes the deity of Christ. The Gospel of Luke begins by telling us about Jesus' parents; the birth of His cousin, John the Baptist; Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born in a manger; and the genealogy of Christ through Mary. Jesus' public ministry reveals His compassion and forgiveness through the stories of the prodigal son, the rich man and Lazarus, and the Good Samaritan. Christ's followers are encouraged to count the cost of discipleship, while His enemies seek His death on the cross. Finally, Jesus is betrayed, tried, sentenced and crucified. His Resurrection assures the continuation of His ministry of seeking and saving the lost. The purpose of each written Gospel is so people may know and believe in Jesus, so they can have eternal life that He offers. That’s why it is Good News. As we prepare to begin Advent with a focus on Luke’s gospel in Cycle C, I would recommend that each of us spend a bit of time with our bible reading the entire Gospel of Luke. It will give us a broad overview of our upcoming liturgical year and prepare us to continue our journey in faith to a closer relationship with God. As we begin a hectic holiday schedule with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner, reading Luke’s gospel now will also remind us why the holidays need to be a joyous time rather than a stressful time in our Christian lives. Blessings,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC