Thursday, October 18, 2018

Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist

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

In a sense today, today we celebrate a Scripture more than a man.  We know very little about St. Luke other than what can be gleaned from his writing.  The New Testament references to him are thin.  Indeed, it cannot be said with complete certainty that the “Luke” found in the writings attributed to St. Paul is the author of the third gospel.  Nothing is known of how he died, much less of where he was born. This is said not to create skepticism but awe for the magnificent work of this evangelist.

Luke refers to himself directly only twice in his New Testament writings.  At the beginning of his gospel he says that he investigated “everything accurately anew.”  He does present much material that is not found in the other gospels – the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, for examples, as well as the Christmas story from the viewpoint of Mary.  The writings’ classical style and polished Greek indicate that Luke was well educated.  Luke emphasizes the Holy Spirit in both his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.  Not only are there numerous references to the Spirit’s presence, but also the effects of the Spirit are manifest.  More than the other evangelists, Luke pictures Jesus and the disciples praying.  Also, he testifies to the Spirit’s uniting all people by continually including women and both the poor and the wealthy.

Luke is often referenced as the patron of physicians and artists.  We could easily see him as the sponsor of writers, scholars and charismatic prayer groups as well.  He is also a special friend of women, of the poor, and of those with great Marian devotion.  Really all Christians are indebted to him.  He deepened, expanded, and colored our knowledge of our Savior.  How can we not toast him and pray to him today?