My wife Vicki told me that for her Lenten observance this year she was going to focus on the Gospel of Luke. Since I was finishing up with an Old Testament book right about the same time, I too decided to read Luke. I also encouraged my son to consider it, as well.
As I began to read Luke I immediately noticed that his Gospel is chock-full of information and things to ponder. I could hardly get past a sentence without being struck with some sort of thought or insight. I also noticed that there seemed to be a particular flow in how he was presenting Jesus. It was at this point that I decided I needed to put my thoughts to paper or otherwise I would probably lose the insights I was receiving.
Since I have a study Bible I have no qualms about writing in the margins. For each chapter I read, I jot down the lesson or lessons that I think Luke is trying to convey. I have also started a reflection paper for each chapter. It is there that I try to go deeper than what I read on the surface. I try to see what the flow of the chapter is all about. For example, in chapter 9, I saw that Jesus had commissioned and sent-out his disciples to preach, heal, and cast-out demons. They came back to him and reported all they had done and were amazed. However, even though they had the power to do good, in many cases they did not know what to do with their power. They argued amongst themselves over who was the greatest, they were ready to rain-down fire upon the towns that rejected them, and they did not realize the power that faith gave to them. They had the power to do extreme good but yet they were ready to abuse it. These are just a couple of examples of how I retain and reflect upon my readings.
What has Luke done for me this Lent? Luke has focused me to read his gospel more deeply; to go beyond the surface. Even though Luke is fairly easy to read, it is so detailed that it should not be read with any haste. This slow methodical reading, along with my jottings, has helped me retain and reflect on Jesus’ message throughout the day and hence throughout this Lent, which in turn is making my Lent more meaningful.
What has Luke done for us as a couple? It has made us reflect and discuss together what we have learned. We share each other’s insights even though we are reading at different paces.
What has Luke done for Vicki? Vicki has already finished Luke, the Acts, and is now on John. She has gone beyond her initial Lenten plan and is charging forward in the New Testament. She feels that this is the first time that she has really read the Gospels/Scripture with relevancy and she is enjoying it.
If you’re still trying to figure-out a good Lenten observance, try Luke!
Copyright 2016 Michael T Carrillo
About the Author
Michael Carrillo is a retired police officer from a large California metropolitan police department. He is married to Vicki and they have five adult children between them. He is an unabashed fan of Jesuit education, though he regrets not obtaining one himself. Day hikes and walks give him opportunities and inspirations to look for and find God.