From Canon Michael Joint’s Study...
A time of mists and mellow fruitfulness is one of the sayings to describe the autumn month of October. Soon all the harvest festivals will have been held, and depending very much on the weather for a few weeks we shall once again see the glory of nature in flaming colours, until the frosts and winds come along to strip the leaves from the trees.
HOW FRUITFUL HAVE OUR LIVES BEEN DURING THIS YEAR?
We read in St John’s gospel, that Jesus said “I am the vine and you are the branches, whoever remains in me and I in him will bear fruit, for you cannot do anything without me. My Father’s glory is shown by you bearing much fruit and this way you become my disciples. Remain in my love.” As always, Jesus is being very positive, and there can be no doubting in what he says. Without Him we can do nothing, also that He told his disciples that he was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one goes to the Father except by Him. For the Christian, Jesus is the only way, on this matter of being fruitful. We shall remember on the 18th of this month a man whose life certainly bore fruit in abundance. St Luke is the patron saint of the sick, doctors, nurses and all those who care for those who are ill.
St Luke’s life was an absolute example to us, of one who followed our Lord. The gospel which bears his name is an absolute gem. It presents Jesus as both the promised Saviour of Israel and the Saviour of all mankind. Luke records that Jesus was called by the Spirit of the Lord to preach the Good News to all those in need. St Luke’s gospel is filled with concern for people with all kinds of needs. Joy is also very evident in this gospel and St Luke carries it on in the Acts of the Apostles by recording the growth and spread of the Christian faith. We are indebted to Luke for his record of parables such as the ‘Good Samaritan’ and the ‘Prodigal Son’. He places great emphasis on prayer, the Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness of sins.
St Luke was also very much involved with St Paul as his constant companion on St Paul’s great missionary journeys and we know that among his many talents Luke was a doctor, St Paul refers to him as the beloved physician. His journeys and all that he had to undergo must have placed a heavy burden on Paul’s physical strength and no doubt Luke was at hand to tend immediately in keeping Paul fit enough to carry on. Luke must have had a remarkable nature for Paul would not have been the easiest of people to live and work with but Luke knew that nothing must get in the way of spreading the Gospel
Luke does give us an excellent example of being fruitful and to persevere. Perseverance is something we all need to cultivate, not only when all is well, but when things are not going so well in our lives. We should be encouraged by St Luke and his example to see our talents and to use them to the full, thereby realising our full potential so that our lives will bear much fruit; and we shall be amongst the branches rooted in the true vine, our Lord Jesus Christ.
With prayerful good wishes, Fr Michael.