Monday, October 18, 2010

St Luke: Feast Day October 18th

Patron of Physicians and Surgeons

Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). Scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. After St. Paul's conversion, Luke accompanied him, healing many of their comrades and writing a large portion of Acts as they journeyed together. Some traditions hold that Luke became a direct disciple of Jesus before His Ascension, while others hold that he became a believer only afterward.

It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those "of the circumcision" -- in other words, Jews -- and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke's gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles (Lk.4:25-27), and the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19)
Luke's inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: "Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus" (Luke 1:1-3).

Luke's unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke's is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man.

Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus' life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke's gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation with the words “Hail Mary full of grace…”, The Visitation with the Magnificat, the Presentation and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple.

Forgiveness and God's mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son or the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears.. Throughout Luke's gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God's mercy. Reading Luke's gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God's kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God's mercy for everyone.

It is known that he remained a bachelor all of his life, devoting himself to the utmost degree to the cause of Christ. When advancing years curbed his campaigning, he withdrew to write his memorable accounts and died in Thebes at the age of eighty-four. He is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice -- the sacrifice Jesus made for all the world.

This post was adapted from: St. Luke


  1. This is excellent information to have and refer back to when needed. One thing I love about all your posts regarding feast days, saints, etc. is the way you go into such detail, describing people and events in a way that is clear, easy to understand and enjoyable to read! I always learn new things when I read your posts. Thank you!!

  2. Thank you Margo for your kind comment and your faithful visits to my blog. I value your opinion. God Bless. N