October 17th

This Monday is the Feast day of Saint Luke.  Saint Luke was the author of the Gospel according to Luke as well as the Acts of the Apostles.  We know some things about Saint Luke from Scripture itself.  From some of the letters of Saint Paul, we learn that Saint Luke accompanied Saint Paul on some of his missionary journeys.  We also know from Scripture that Saint Luke was a physician. (cf. Colossians 4:14)  It is uncertain what happened to Saint Luke after the second imprisonment of Saint Paul.

Saint Luke is one of the most extensive writers of the New Testament.  His Gospel is longer than the others; his two books, taken together, are as long as all of Saint Paul’s Epistles; the Book of Acts alone exceeds the length of the other (non-Pauline) books of the New Testament put together.

The Gospel of Luke is one of two Gospels that contain a genealogy of Jesus Christ.  The genealogy that can be found in Saint Matthew’s Gospel only traces Jesus’ family tree back to Abraham.  (Saint Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience, and therefore he is concerned with showing how Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises that God made to Abraham.)  Saint Luke, on the other hand, wrote to a Gentile (non-Jewish) audience and he traced Jesus’ bloodline all the way back to Adam and Eve in order to show that the Salvation that Jesus offers is for the entire human race.

The Acts of the Apostles (the second book written by Saint Luke) recounts the activity of the early Church after Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven.  In Acts, Saint Luke shows how the Good News began to be spread throughout the world.

In Christian art we often see the four Gospel writers depicted as a man (Saint Matthew), an ox (Saint Luke), a lion (Saint Mark) and an eagle (Saint John).  These symbols are derived from various prophetic visions in the Old Testament as well as from the Book of Revelation.  The reason that the ox is used to symbolize Saint Luke is because his Gospel begins with an account of an Old Testament priest, Zechariah (the father of Saint John the Baptist), going to the Temple to offer sacrifice (oxen were just one example of the sacrifices offered in the Temple in Jerusalem).

If someone who never read the Bible wanted to begin, Saint Luke’s Gospel is an excellent place to start.  Saint Luke tells the whole story of Jesus Christ, from the Annunciation to the Ascension.  One of the things that the Gospel of Saint Luke focuses on in a particular way is the mercy and compassion that Jesus has for sinners.

A good way to celebrate the Feast of Saint Luke is to read your favorite part of his Gospel on his Feast.  Also remember to invoke his powerful intercession.  Saint Luke, pray for us!

God bless,

Father White