The First Reading today grips my heart. Can you imagine? Discerning that your death is near and trying to encourage and instruct your son in the faith one last time? That’s exactly what Saint Paul is doing throughout his second letter to Timothy. He writes of rejection and betrayal, but also of friendship and God’s faithfulness. This has always been a favorite epistle of mine, but one simple line in today’s reading struck me even more than the beautiful encouragement found elsewhere in the letter:
“Luke alone is with me.”
We know that Saint Luke was a physician, and that his Gospel reveals a particular concern for Gentiles and compassion for women. We don’t know much else about him, but through the eyes of Saint Paul we can see that he was also a faithful friend.
I’m in the middle of a lot of Big Life Changes (trademark) right now, including preparing for two cross-country moves in the next six months and a wedding on the horizon. I’ve certainly felt the sting of rejection, and have fallen into the “I don’t have a lot of friends, woe is me!” pity party trap. It’s hard, isn’t it? To feel isolated by or because of our location, our careers, our lack of careers, our faith. It isn’t as dramatic as, say, being literally thrown to lions because of the betrayal of a friend. But we are a people created for community, and we will always feel the absence when we’re divorced from that. I just have to be careful that I don’t ignore the friendships I do have because they aren’t the friendships I want to have.
When everyone else had abandoned Saint Paul or was sent away, Saint Luke remained at his side. We remember Saint Luke as a Gospel writer and a physician—he’s even the patron saint for doctors and surgeons. But today I also want to remember him as a friend. Through his intercession may we nurture the relationships God has placed in our midst, bring comfort to those near us who are hurting, and find our hope in Christ, the one who always stands beside us and gives us strength.
Kassie Rutherford is a dancer, fiction writer and editor from Texas currently relocating from LA to NYC. You can find out more about her here.