Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist

Saint Luke as author of the Third Gospel and the Acts of the ApostlesSt. Luke, the inspired author of the third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles, was a native of Antioch in Syria and a physician, and one of the early converts from paganism. Some traditions hold that Luke became a direct disciple of Jesus before his ascension. After St. Paul’s conversion, Luke accompanied him as his personal physician and, in effect, as a kind of biographer, since the journeys of Paul on which Luke accompanied him occupy a large portion of the Acts of the Apostles. Luke probably wrote this text, the final narrative portion of the New Testament, in the city of Rome where the account ends, and this is firsthand history. We hear no more of him afterwards and nothing is known of his last years. According to St. Jerome, St. Luke died in Achaia (Greece) at the age of 84 after preaching in Mediterranean, and it is unknown whether or not he died a martyr’s death but the Church venerate him as martyr. His name means “bringer of light”. St. Luke did not personally know our Lord, and like St. Mark, the author of the second Gospel, he is not included among the apostles. St. Luke’s Gospel is principally concerned with salvation and mercy, of the repentant sinner and of the lowly, the Gospel of the Merciful Heart of Jesus; in it are preserved some of our Lord’s most moving parables, like those of the lost sheep and the prodigal son. Dante calls St. Luke the “historian of the meekness of Christ.” It is also St. Luke who tells us the greater part of what we know about our Lord’s childhood.Other students of biblical history adduce from Luke’s writings that he was the only evangelist to incorporate the personal testimony of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose role in Christ’s life emerges most clearly in his gospel. Tradition credits him with painting several icons of Christ’s mother, and one of the sacred portraits ascribed to him – known by the title “Salvation of the Roman People”– survives to this day in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.Reflection“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9: 23)To be a Christian for Luke means to follow Jesus on the path that he takes. It is Jesus Himself who takes the initiative and calls us to follow Him and He does it decisively, unmistakably, thus showing His extraordinary identity, His mystery of being the Son who knows the Father and reveals Him. At the origin of the decision to follow Jesus lies the fundamental option in favour of His person. If we have not been attracted by the face of Christ, it is impossible to follow Him with fidelity and constancy. This is also because Jesus walks a difficult road; He lays down extremely demanding conditions and heads for a paradoxical destiny, that of the Cross. Luke emphasizes that Jesus does not like compromises and requires a commitment of the whole person, a decisive detachment from any nostalgia for the past, from family demands, from material possessions (cf. Lk 9: 57-62; 14: 26-33).PrayerLord God, You chose St Luke to reveal the mystery of Your love in his preaching and his writings. Grant, we pray, that we may grow in love for the Holy Face of Christ, His words and His directions, revealed to us in the Gospels, in the example of your saints. Today, on his feast, we especially look to St Luke, to guide, teach and pray for us. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever and ever, AMEN.

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