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the writer of the Gospel and the
of the Apostles and has been called Luke, the beloved physician. We know
few other facts about Luke's life
and from early Church historians.
believed that Luke
was born a Greek and a Gentile. In our day, it would be easy to assume
that someone who was a
was rich, but scholars have argued that
might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to
in medicine so that they would have a resident
physician. Never the less, all refer to
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
St. Luke was an artist, at least to the extent that his graphic
descriptions of the Annunciation,
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
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.
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.
nothing about his
but looking at the language of
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
about the year 61.
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
including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus'
disappearance in Jerusalem. It is
that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: "Hail
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
do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed
father. Only in
do we hear the story of the forgiven
disrupting the feast by washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Throughout
takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God's mercy.
reports of Luke's
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.
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
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