Friday, October 18, 2013

Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist

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

The Hebrew song “Dayenu” has been sung at Jewish Passover suppers for over a thousand years.  The words mean it would have been enough and refer to the many marvelous deeds that God had performed for the children of Israel. “Dayenu,” the people sing, “that He had brought us out of Egypt”; “dayenu…that He “had fed us manna”; “dayenu…that he “had given us the Torah”; and so on.  In considering the Gospel of St. Luke we may also want to sing “Dayenu.”

Luke’s gospel by far tells us more of the Virgin Mary than the other three – dayenu, that alone would have been enough for us to read it.  It also contains Jesus’ most beautiful parables – “The Prodigal Son,” “The Good Samaritan,” and “Lazarus and the Rich Man” – dayenu, that fact alone would have been enough to satisfy us.  And only Luke relates Jesus in a manger as he is born and begging forgiveness for his persecutors as he dies on a cross – dayenu, how could anyone ask for more.

We know nothing for certain about St. Luke.  The report that he was a physician and a disciple of Paul does not have great historical credibility.  But there is a sense in which we know him intimately.  Like us he loved Jesus for showing God’s mercy.  Like us he had a special regard for Jesus’ Virgin Mother.  And like us he longed to see the Church grow so that the entire world might live together in peace.