27th January 2019

WEEKLY REFLECTION

“… I in my turn, after carefully gong over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus, so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received” (Luke 1: 3-4).

St. Luke, a companion of Paul, as confirmed in Colossians (4: 14), 2 Timothy (4: 11) and Philemon (24), a Gentile, a physician and the author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles, dedicates his Gospel to “Theophilus.” This is unique to Luke’s Gospel as none of the other Gospels is dedicated to anyone. But who is this Theophilus? Some scholars conjecture that he might have been someone of a high ranking office, as Luke addresses him as “Your Excellency”, who might have hired Luke to write a detailed account of the events concerning the life of Jesus for the Gentiles; others analyse it from the Greek meaning of the name: “Theo” meaning “God”, and “philia” meaning “lover of” or “friend of” to deduce that the use of “Theophilus” here by Luke is a reference to all “Lovers of God” and “Friends of God” everywhere. This second understanding seem to be more plausible. St. Ambrose comments that “The Gospel was written to Theophilus, i.e., to him whom God loves. If you love God, it was written for you.” And, if you know that God loves you, it was intended for you as well. So invariably, Luke was not addressing the Gospel to any one person but to all “Lovers and Friends of God.” By implication, Luke is writing to us, to you and me. The Good news is a gift to us, first and foremost, personally and then as Catholics and Christians; and in deed to everyone, who feel as part of God’s creation to read, meditate upon and try to live out its demands in order to strengthen that love and friendship and relationship with the Trinity. This is what we are called to do – to relate with the Gospel as with a friend and a lover