Peace to you dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Saint Paul called Saint Luke, a “beloved physician,” but this name was more than just about healing. Saint Luke announced to the whole world that the Kingdom of God is coming. How close is it, this Kingdom? Just take a closer look at the altar.
Alone, of the four evangelists, Saint Luke told us the amazing story of two travelers on their way to Emmaus after the events of Good Friday [Lk 24:13-35]. Do you remember this story? The risen Christ met them, tired and disappointed, on the road; and then He preached the Kingdom of God to them, and then He took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. And He Himself became invisible to them. He became invisible, and they only had the bread blessed by Him — the eucharistic bread.
No one but Luke tells us so about the Eucharist. For him, it is the most precious medicine, given by a Physician better than him, by a Physician Who came to save sinners, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
On Saint Luke’s Day, during the festive Mass, the Gospel about the calling of the Seventy Disciples is always read [Lk 10]. These Seventy Disciples are often referred to as the first generation of priests.
“Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” [Lk 10:3]
It is not only about persecutions Jesus wanted to tell us, speaking about “the lambs.” Think about it: after all, in fact, for each of Christians who are coming for the liturgy, the word “Lamb” is associated with only the One Lamb — Jesus Christ.
“I am sending you out like lambs.” Sending His priests into the world, Christ instructed them to become the lambs like He is. It is not only about sufferings for their faith, and not only about imitating Him, but about becoming “little christs.”
Remember, when the Lord told Moses, that He had made Moses to be “a god to Pharaoh”? This was because Moses spoke to Pharaoh on behalf of God. And not even just in the name of God, but the words in the mouth of Moses were the real words of God Himself.
That is how it is in the Church: the priests are “christs” for people to whom they tell the Gospel. And it is not surprising, therefore, that the Gospel reading about the instructions to the seventy disciples ends with these words:
“He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” [Lk 10:16]
Lutherans adore these words of the Lord. For example, in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession we read that the ministers of the Church act “on behalf of Christ, as it is written, He that hears you hears Me. When they preach the word, when they conduct the sacrament, they do it the name of Christ and in His place.”
“In His place.” In other words, Christ gave to the apostles and to their successors the power to forgive sins and He inputted His word in their mouths. And that means that the word in the liturgy is not of men, but of God; and who listens to the priest — listens God. God speaks to His people through His priests. By His word, priests forgive sins, by His word, they conduct the sacraments.
Let us rejoice today, brothers and sisters, that this Physician has come to us, too, to tell us His word through the mouths of the priests. He then heals us with His Body and Blood — the medicine of immortality.
“Faith and hope”
Please pray that in this difficult time of fear and panic, people will find hope and salvation in Jesus Christ, and the parishioners will not forget about the most important medicine they need that is the Eucharist.
Please see the attached photos of our Bishop Vsevolod’s just visitation to the parishes in Khakassia.