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 want it to be the Gospel According to Luke. Although not the most profound theologically, Luke’s Gospel shines in ways 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. This 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 occasionally mentioned in the Pauline letters as we heard today. Because at one point in these letters he is described as a “beloved physician,” he is honored by medical professionals as their patron. Perhaps because of his beautiful descriptions of characters such as the prodigal son and the good Samaritan, it is also said that he was an artist and so enjoys the patronage of that profession as well. But it seems more accurate to name his profession as how he describes himself: an historical researcher who puts in good order the events of the life of Christ (see Luke 1:1-3).
But Luke is more than a historian because his narrative, as we see in today’s gospel, announces the “kingdom of God.” Luke found that kingdom personified in Jesus himself who comes to show mercy on all people, especially those whom the world tends to ignore – the poor, women, and almost hopeless sinners.