Saint Brigid Religious Education
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Luke was the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles and has been called Luke, the beloved physician. We know few other facts about Luke's life from Scripture and from early Church historians.

It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but 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. Never the less, all refer to Luke as a physician.

As the writer of the Gospel of Luke, certain details of his personal life can be reasonably assumed. While he does exclude himself from those who were eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry he repeatedly uses the word "we" in describing the Pauline missions in Acts of the Apostles, indicating that he was personally there at those times.

St. Luke was an artist, at least to the extent that his graphic descriptions of the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Shepherds. Presentation, the Shepherd and lost sheep, etc., have become the inspiring and favorite themes of Christian painters. He is one of the most extensive writers of the New Testament. His Gospel is considerably longer than St. Matthew's, his two books are about as long as St. Paul's fourteen Epistles: and Acts exceeds in length the Seven Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse. St. Luke is a painter in words.

We owe a great deal to St. Luke. Out of twenty miracles which he records, six are not found in the other Gospels. He alone has the eighteen parables such as the good Samaritan, prodigal son, rich man and Lazarus. The account of the journeys towards Jerusalem is found only in St. Luke; and he gives special prominence to the duty of prayer.

We know nothing about his conversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul at Troas at about the year 51. Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61.

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, Mary's visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus' disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: "Hail Mary full of grace" spoken at the Annunciation and "Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus" spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.

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 welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Throughout Luke's gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God's mercy.

The reports of Luke's life after Paul's death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 after settling in Greece to write his Gospel. Luke's Tomb was located in Thebes (Greece), from when his relics were transferred to Constantinople in the year 357.

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. Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.


St. Luke's feast day is October 18.

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