Monday, October 18, 2010

Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist

(II Timothy 4:10-17b; Luke 10:1-9)

If the Church were to use only one gospel, many people would campaign that it be the Gospel According to Luke. Although not the most profound theologically, Luke’s Gospel shines on elements of faith that touch us deeply. It gives the most detailed account of Jesus’ birth as well as of Mary, the mother of God. It also relates the most memorable of Jesus’ parables and shows Jesus constantly in prayer and making a preferential option for the poor. The list could go on almost indefinitely.

We call the author of the third gospel “Luke” but cannot be sure who he was or even if “Luke” was really his name. Several sources from the second century identify him with the Luke who is mentioned several times in Pauline letters as we heard today. At one point in these letters he is described as a “beloved physician.” For this reason he is honored by medical professionals today as their patron. It is also said that he was an artist and so enjoys the patronage of that profession as well. But it seems best to name his profession as he describes himself: an historical researcher who puts in good order the events of the life of Christ (Luke 1:-3). However, he is more than a historian because his narrative, as we see exemplified in today’s gospel, everywhere announces the “kingdom of God,” personified in Jesus himself, calling us as its fortunate citizens.