Feast of St Luke the evangelist.
St Luke whose feast we celebrate today was a companion of St Paul and was his fellow worker. His name means “bringer of light”. We find three scriptural references to St Luke in the letters of St Paul and from them we can safely conclude that Luke was a particularly intimate and faithful companion.
Besides writing the Gospel, he is also the author of the Acts of the Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles covers a period stretching from A.D. 33 to A.D. 60 and together with the Gospel, Luke is responsible for penning 38,000 words, or 24% of the whole New Testament.
But St Luke also had another job, he was the “the beloved physician”; he was as a medical practitioner and that is why he is the patron of doctors among others. But Luke is also the patron of artists. “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.” (1)
Luke came from the large metropolitan city of Antioch, a part of modern-day Turkey. By birth Luke was a Gentile. One of the reasons this is asserted is that in St Paul’s letter to the Colossians he is mentioned separately from those “of the circumcision”; those of the circumcision, being the Jews. In Luke’s lifetime, his native city emerged as an important centre of early Christianity. During the future saint’s early years, the city’s port had already become a cultural centre, renowned for arts and sciences.
After the martyrdom of St. Paul in the year 67, St. Luke is said to have preached elsewhere throughout the Mediterranean, and possibly died as a martyr. According to St. Jerome, St. Luke died in Achaia (Greece) at the age of 84.
(1) Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
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