Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
The way we talk about each of the four evangelists may make some think that we know well who they were. However, we actually have little hard evidence about any gospel writer. None of them puts his (or, who really knows, her) name on the work. We depend on secondary sources writing decades later to identify these writers. The author of the third gospel is no exception. Although this gospel begins with a personal anecdote, only second century witnesses tell us that he is Luke, whom the Letter to the Colossians calls the “beloved physician.”
It is interesting to note that Luke can be critical of physicians but is harder on lawyers. Earlier in the gospel Luke tells of another woman with a debilitating hemorrhage whom Jesus heals. Unlike Mark writing of the same incident, Luke does not mention (at least as recorded in some ancient manuscripts) that the woman spent a small fortune on doctors. More significantly, Luke presents Jesus as the original “beloved physician” of body and soul. In the passage today Jesus gently removes the burden that has had a woman bent over for eighteen years. Not gently, but equally remarkably, he opens the eyes of the synagogue official, a lawyer of sorts quoting the law. Jesus explains to him the fact that his interpretation of the Law is punitive not life-giving.