Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist



St. Luke came from Antioch, was a practicing physician and was one of the first converts to Christianity. He accompanied St. Paul, who converted him, on his missionary journeys and was still with him in Rome when St. Paul was in prison awaiting death. We hear no more of him afterwards and nothing is known of his last years. The Church venerates him as a Martyr.

St. Luke's Gospel is principally concerned with salvation and mercy; 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.

"According to tradition he was an artist, as well as a man of letters; and with a soul alive to all the most delicate inspirations, he consecrated his pencil to the holiest use, and handed down to us the features of the Mother of God. It was an illustration worthy of the Gospel which relates to the divine Infancy; and it won for the artist a new title to the gratitude of those who never saw Jesus and Mary in the flesh. Hence St. Luke is the patron of Christian art."

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. For this reason the Gospel chosen for their feast is the account of the sending forth of the seventy-two disciples. According to St. Jerome, St. Luke died in Achaia (Greece) at the age of 84, and it unknown whether or not he died a martyr's death. His name means "bringer of light" (= luke).

~from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.

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