Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Luke, the author of the third Gospel. Much of this Gospel was based on the teachings and writings of Saint Paul, his interviews with early Christians and his own experiences.
The name Luke means ‘bringer of light’ and he was one of the earliest converts. He was born to pagan Greek parents at Antioch in Syria and possibly a slave. He was a Greek by birth and a physician by profession studying in Antioch and Tarsus. Probably he travelled as a ship’s doctor and many charitable societies of physicians are named after him. According to the book, Butler’s Lives of Saints, he became a disciple, fellow-worker and at the same time, a faithful friend of Saint Paul during his two imprisonments. He is best known to us as the historian of the New Testament acts of both Christ and the Apostles. Though not an eye-witness of Our Lord’s life, the meticulous Evangelist diligently gathered information from those who had followed or listened to Jesus of Nazareth and wrote all things in order. His command of Greek is much admired. Saint Clement of Alexandria, Saint Jerome and Saint Thomas Aquinas state that, it is he who translated the famous Epistle to the Hebrews, written in the language of the Jerusalem Christians, into the admirable Greek which we presently possess as the only ancient version. He died c.74 in Greece. Some stories say he was martyred, others he was not.
Legend has it that he was also a painter who may have done portraits of Jesus and Mary, but none have ever been correctly or definitively attributed to him. He is the patron saint of artists; bachelors; bookbinders; brewers; butchers; doctors; glass makers; glassworkers; gold workers; goldsmiths; Hermersdorf, Germany; lacemakers; lace workers; notaries; painters; physicians; sculptors; stained glass workers; surgeons; unmarried men.
One of the virtues that St. Luke has is the virtue of humility. This is shown when he writes the Acts of the Apostles as a sequel to his Gospel account, bringing the history of the Church down to the first imprisonment of Saint Paul in Rome, in the year 64. The humble Luke never names himself but by his occasional use of “we” instead of “he” or “they”, we are able to detect his presence in the scenes of Saint Paul’s life which he describes. We thus find that he sailed with Paul and Silas from Troas to Macedonia, where he remained behind, apparently, for seven years at Philippi. Finally, after remaining near Saint Paul during the time he was imprisoned in Palestine, he accompanied him, still a prisoner, when he was transported to Rome. Thus he shared the shipwreck and perils of that memorable voyage, narrated in Chapter 27 of Acts which book no Christian should fail to read, along with the four Gospels. He then narrates the two years of Saint Paul’s first imprisonment, ending in his liberation.
Another one is his willingness to be an instrument of the Lord in propagating His good news of the Kingdom of God. He grabbed the opportunity to become a missionary. This started when he met St. Paul at Troas and evangelized Greece and Rome with him, being there for the shipwreck and other perils of the voyage to Rome and stayed in Rome for Paul’s two years of imprisonment as stated above. Like the seventy two disciples in today’s gospel, Jesus is also calling us right now. One priest asked in his homily this: Shall we imitate Luke’s wholehearted response or simply ignore it? But remember, because we were baptized, we share in his missionary work. It is because during our baptism we received the three roles of being Christians: as a priest, prophet and servant-leader. We can become missionaries right wherever we are whether at home, in our work or in other places.
See Today’s Readings: Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist
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