The Feast of St. Luke: Oct. 18
Each year during the Solemnity of the Annunciation Mass, we read in the Gospel of Luke about the moment when the angel Gabriel reveals to the Blessed Virgin that she will soon bear the Messiah.
As we continue reading the Gospel of Luke, we also encounter the beauty of Mary’s soul when she sings the Magnificat with heartfelt praise. This Gospel also contains the one magnificently detailed description of Christ’s birth in all of Sacred Scripture, as well as all three Gospel canticles used in Catholic liturgical prayer.
Furthermore, St. Luke’s Gospel shows sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is the only one of the four Gospels which includes the parable of the Good Samaritan – the account of Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles, such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk. 4:25-27), and that of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk. 17:11-19).
Thanks to St. Luke – the author of this Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles – we have an awe-inspiring vision of each one of these events, as well as countless others. What is it about the persona of St. Luke that allows him such piercing insight into the mysteries of Christ?
St. Luke, a physician by profession, has been identified with St. Paul’s “Luke, the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14). He is known to have been a tender-hearted disciple genuinely concerned for the poor. He also respected women in a special way. Some theologians even refer to his Gospel as the “Gospel of the Poor.” He is one of the most extensive and competent writers of the New Testament.
Luke was born a Greek and Gentile. According to the early Church historian Eusebius, Luke was born at Antioch in Syria. He first appears in Scripture in the Acts at Troas, where he meets St. Paul and experiences a revelation in a vision. He then crosses over with St. Paul to Europe as an evangelist, landing at Neapolis, “being assured that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:10). He then continued to faithfully serve God as an evangelist, bringing soul after soul towards the merciful heart of Christ, the newfound Messiah.
Ecclesiastical historian Nicephorus Callistus called Luke a “painter,” and a gorgeous picture of the Virgin in Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, is ascribed to him.
St. Luke was, in all, a gifted disciple of Christ who is worthy of our imitation and invocation.
As Catholics, we belong to a vibrant Church that is alive with Christ-centered celebrations and festivities. Each day of the liturgical year brings a new grace into our walk with Christ and yet another reason to rejoice. Let us not be shy to bring this inspiring spirit of festivity into our homes and share it with our families. The upcoming feast of St. Luke on Oct. 18 is a perfect place to begin.