Notes from Deacon Pareja

This Tuesday, October 18, the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Luke, Patron Saint of Physicians. This is of particular interest because we are in the midst of reading Luke’s Gospel. Although scripture scholars attribute Luke as the author of Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, surprisingly little is known about this faithful man. Here is what is known about him: St. Luke lived in the First Century A.D. He was a physician, companion to St. Paul, and a Christian historian. Little is known of his birthplace, but it is an accepted fact that he was not of Jewish heritage. It is thought that Luke may have been a native of Antioch in Syria, but Greek in birth and education. Luke was probably a Gentile, since Paul distinguishes him from Jewish coworkers (Colossians 4:10-14). When Luke met Paul, he had already converted to Christianity, but knew nothing about the beginnings of Christianity except what others had taught him. Upon becoming Paul's traveling companion, however, Luke learned much about the religion from his new friend and soon became wellversed in Jewish customs. Luke wrote in his gospel around 60 A.D. and composed Acts approximately three years later. For his gospel account, Luke gathered his information from eyewitnesses and documents. Since Luke is believed to have been with Paul when Paul was imprisoned at Rome, it appears likely that he would have met the apostles and disciples, and would have been aware of the gospels written by Mark and Matthew. It is widely believed that one of the people Luke interviewed at great length may have been Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. Luke was the only Gentile writer of the New Testament.

He is the evangelist, poet, artist and cantor of the infancy of Jesus Christ. It was Luke who chronicled the Christian rendition of Christmas, searching out and preserving a birth story "too humble for prouder historians to touch." The Gospel of Luke has been described as the most beautiful book in the world…the opening chapters credited with being the most magnificent of all. The first two chapters of Luke's gospel relate the Christmas story. He is the only Evangelist to provide certain information about the conception, infancy and childhood of Jesus. Of all four Evangelists, it is Luke who best reveals Jesus as the man and constant friend to the poor and downtrodden comforting even the despairing thief who was crucified alongside him.

There are many inconsistencies regarding Luke’s death. Accounts indicate that he likely died between the age of 74 and 86. Regardless of the details surrounding Luke’s birth and death, Christians can agree that he was a good and faithful person. As we prepare for Advent and Christmas, we should pause to thank St. Luke for reporting many of the details of Jesus’ birth that we celebrate during Christmas.

Blessings, Deacon Steve

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