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Bearing fruit: witness & service

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Jason Roll

~ St. Luke: October 18 ~

Illuminating All the Earth with Christ's Gospel:
How might we, follow the example of Saint Luke, and use Christ's Gospel to enlighten the World?

by Jason Roll
Seminarian, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

The Gospel of Saint Luke shares many themes:
· The offering of hymns and prayers to God;
· A focus on the inspirational work of the Holy Spirit;
· Jesus' concern and love for sinners; and
· His hope for their repentance.

In addition to these important and meaningful themes, St. Luke offers Christ's words to us as guidelines to live by so that we can always try to be the best Christians we can be. These guidelines are commonly known as The Beatitudes.

Our theme for October is "Illuminating all the earth with Christ's Gospel."
Let's review some passages from The Beatitudes. As we read them, try to
think of how these words might help you illuminate the Earth. How could
you be guided by these words to provide a loving Christian service to others and in turn spread the word of God's love?

Our first passage is "Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise" (6:30-31)

What is our reaction when one of our friends asks to borrow something from us? If a friend asks to borrow your cellular phone to make a quick call,
do you say "No, I don't want to use up all of my minutes."? Or maybe you
nag a friend to repay you the $1 you gave him or her the other day to buy a soda?

Turn the tables for a moment and think of how you would feel if someone had said this to you. Wouldn't it be nicer to hear "Sure buddy, here you go -
make your phone call."? As far as the $1 goes, consider it a gift and
move on hoping that some day your buddy will pass on the favor and do the same for you or for someone else.

Another passage reads, "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

It is so easy to judge others - strangers or even our closest friends.
What is it that makes us judge or insult and offend others? Are we really filled with hatred and the desire to inflict suffering?

God calls us to be merciful. It takes practice to stop judging and condemning others and to forgive instead. Simply put, if a friend does something to hurt you then asks for your forgiveness, we are required to forgive others in order for God to forgive us.

The final passage we will read today is "But love your enemies, do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful" (6:35-36)

Do we truly love our enemies? Perhaps it is only by sharing, giving and forgiving that we can truly begin to love our enemies ? to be kind to everyone, as Christ was kind to everyone.

To live as Christ lived is what we strive to do, yet we struggle with it everyday. It is a challenge, but it helps to remember that it is by loving our friends, enemies, neighbors and strangers that we help to illuminate the Earth with Christ's message. By being good to others we will be spreading the good news of the Gospel.

Did you know that St. Luke was also a doctor? As we approach his feast day this month, let's look to this doctor-saint, also known as the "beloved physician," to intercede for us that we might be healed in body and spirit. Let's also follow his example in our own lives to become physicians of the soul, serving as modern day disciples.

Jason Roll is a seminarian at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of theology. He has joined the staff of the Department of Outreach & Evangelism as a seminarian intern. Jason lives in Brookline with his wife Sandra and their two children.

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