Thursday, the Feast of St. Luke, evangelist
In New Mexico we find in pottery shops a stylized statuette called “The Story-teller.” It shows a woman with a pot on her head and one in her hands. Her mouth is wide open, obviously telling stories. Hanging onto the woman and all about her, children play animated by her words. In a way the woman represents St. Luke the Evangelist. More than any other evangelist, Luke features Jesus telling beautiful stories known as parables.
Most people are aware that the parables of the “Prodigal Son,” or as preachers prefer to say nowadays the “Prodigal Father,” and of the “Good Samaritan” are found only in Luke. Also, only Luke writes of Jesus telling the memorable stories of the “Rich Fool” and of “Lazarus and the Rich Man.” If Luke is exclusive in that he has unique parables to tell, we may point out that he is inclusive in a significant way as well. Luke frequently has a story featuring a woman juxtaposed with a story featuring a man. For example, after Jesus tells the parable of the shepherd searching for the lost sheep, Luke shows him speaking of the woman sweeping her home to find a lost coin.
But we must not think that Luke’s intention was only or mainly to portray Jesus as a story-teller. Like the other three evangelists Luke’s purpose is to show how Jesus is the son of God who has taken on human nature to save us from sin and death. The gospel passage today ends with Jesus instructing his disciples to tell the people, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” In time that message will change. After Jesus rises from the dead, the apostles will preach Jesus as the incarnation of the Kingdom. As Peter tells the people of Jerusalem, “God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”