Skip to comments.The Life Of The Holy Apostle And Evangelist Luke
Posted on 10/18/2002 6:28:52 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
The Life of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke
Whose Memory the Holy Church Celebrates on the 18th of October
The Patron Saint of our Parish Church
We are so very blessed to have St. Luke as our patron saint. But, how well do we really know him? Do we ask his intercessions on our behalf before Gods throne of glory? It is my hope and prayer that through the following "Life of St. Luke" we will come to know and love our heavenly patron even more, without hesitation always asking for his prayers and intercession on our behalf.
Background of St. Luke
The holy Evangelist Luke was born in the Syrian city of Antioch. His parents were not members of the Hebrew race; and the very name "Luke" bears witness to this in part, for it is an abbreviated form of the Latin name "Lucanus." Furthermore, in one passage in his Epistle to the Colossians, the holy Apostle Paul makes a clear distinction between Luke and those "who are of the circumcision," that is, the Jews (Col 4:10-15). In his own writings, however, Luke shows a thorough knowledge of the Law of Moses and the customs of the Jewish people. Hence, we may conclude that Luke had already adopted the Jewish religion before his conversion to Christ. Moreover, in his native land, which was renowned for the flourishing state of the arts and sciences, Luke had developed his intellect with various scholarly studies. From the Apostle Pauls Epistle to the Colossians, we learn also that Luke had studied medicine (Col 4:14). Tradition also informs us that he was a painter. He undoubtedly received an excellent education in general, for the quality of the Greek language in his writings is far more pure and correct than that of the other New Testament writers.
Coming to Christ
When rumor of the miracles and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ spread from Galilee throughout Syria and the entire surrounding region, Luke journeyed from Antioch to Galilee, where the Lord Jesus Christ had begun to sow the seeds of His saving teaching. These seeds found good soil for themselves in the heart of Luke, and bore much fruit. The holy Luke was soon found worthy of a place in the company of the Seventy Apostles and, after receiving travelling instructions from the Lord and the power to work miracles, he went "before the face" of the Lord Jesus Christ, preaching the imminence of the kingdom of God and preparing His way.
At the Crucifixion
During the final days of the Saviors earthly life, when, with the striking down of the Shepherd, the sheep of His flock also were scattered, the holy Luke abode in Jerusalem, lamenting and weeping for his Lord Who had voluntarily accepted suffering. In all probability, Luke also stood "afar off" among the others who knew Jesus, and looked upon the Crucified One. But soon after, his sorrow was turned into joy, for the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ consoled Luke on the very day of His resurrection, counting him worthy to see and converse with Him, as Luke himself informs us in his Gospel in great personal detail (Luke 24:13-32).
On the Road to Emmaus
Grieving over the death of His Master and in doubt concerning His resurrection, of which the myrrh-bearing women had informed him, Luke set out from Jerusalem for Emmaus in the company of Cleopas, another disciple of the Lord. Along the road to that town, he was accounted worthy to become the travelling companion of Him Who is "the way, the truth and the life." Both disciples were walking and conversing with one another when Jesus Himself overtook them and walked with them. The Lord appeared to them, as the Evangelist Mark relates, "in another form" (Mark 16:12), and not in the form in which they had known Him before. Moreover, by the special providence of God, "their eyes were holden" (Luke 24:16), that they might not recognize the Lord Who had appeared to them. They supposed that their Companion was one of the pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.
"What manner of conversation is this that ye have with one another, as ye walk, and are sad?" the Lord asked them. "Art Thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?" Cleopas asked in return. "What things?" Jesus asked again. "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him. But we hoped that it had been He Who should have redeemed Israel; and besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, who were early at the sepulcher; and when they found not His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even as the women had said; but Him they saw not."
Then said the Lord to them: "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" And, beginning with Moses, the Lord Christ explained to them passages from all the prophets that told of Him in the Scriptures. Thus, conversing with the Lord, the disciples drew nigh to Emmaus without being aware of it. And since His conversation was pleasing to them, and their Companion made as if to journey further, they besought Him to remain with them, saying: "Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent."
Therefore He entered the town and sojourned with them in a certain house. When He reclined with them to dine, He took a loaf of bread from the table and, blessing it, broke it and gave it to them. No sooner did the Lord do this than His disciples immediately recognized Him. In all probability, the Lord had performed this action in the presence of His disciples previously; moreover, they may have recognized Him from the wounds made by the nails that had pierced His hands. But at that moment, the Lord vanished from before their eyes, and they said to one another: "Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us along the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?"
Back in Jerusalem the Risen Lord Appears once More
Desiring to share their joy with the other disciples of the Lord, Luke and Cleopas rose immediately from their meal and set out for Jerusalem. There they found the apostles and the other disciples assembled in one house, and, of course, they announced to them straightway that Christ had risen from the dead, and that they had seen Him and conversed with Him. For their part, the apostles reassured them, relating that the Lord had truly risen and had appeared to Simon. Then Luke and Cleopas recounted to the apostles in detail all that had transpired with them on the way, and how they had recognized Christ the Lord in the breaking of the bread. (*Partaking of Holy Communion, we also recognize Christ in "the breaking of the bread".)
In the midst of their conversation, the risen Lord Himself suddenly appeared among the apostles, bestowed His peace upon them and calmed their troubled hearts. To convince those who thought that what they were seeing was not merely the ghost of their dead Teacher, the Lord showed them the wounds which the nails had inflicted upon His hands and feet, and partook of some food. Then the Evangelist Luke was again accounted worthy to hear from the Lord an explanation of all said of Him in the sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament, and received the gift of understanding the Scriptures (Luke 24:18-49).
St. Luke at Sebaste, Antioch, Greece, and Phillipi
After the ascension of the Lord, the holy Luke remained in Jerusalem for a time, with the other apostles; but later, as tradition bears witness, he went to Antioch, his native city, where there were already many Christians. Along the road to Antioch, he passed through the city of Sebaste, the principal city of Samaria. There he proclaimed the glad tidings of the coming of the Messiah. There also, he found the incorrupt relics of St. John the Forerunner. When it came time for him to leave Sebaste, the holy Luke wished to take them with him to his native land, but the Christians there, fervently honoring the Baptizer of the Lord, would not permit Luke to remove all his holy relics. Then, St. Luke detached from them the right arm, under which Christ had bowed His head when He had received baptism from John. With this priceless treasure, the holy Luke arrived in his homeland, to the great joy of the Christians of Antioch. And he left that city only when he became the travelling companion and fellow laborer of the holy Apostle Paul, who, in the words of several ancient writers, was even one of his kinsmen. This took place during the Apostle Pauls second missionary journey. At that time, St. Luke and the Apostle Paul traveled to Greece to preach the Gospel, and the holy evangelist was left behind by the Apostle to the Gentiles to establish and organize the Church in the Macedonian city of Philippi. Then, for a period of several years, the holy Luke labored to spread Christianity throughout those parts.
With the Apostle Paul
When, at the end of his third missionary journey, the Apostle Paul again visited Philippi, Luke, on his instruction and as the choice of all the faithful, went to Corinth to collect alms for the poor Christians of Palestine (cf. 2 Cor 8:18-19). When he had finished what he had been sent to do, St. Luke departed with the Apostle Paul for Palestine, stopping along the way to visit the Churches on the islands of the Aegean archipelago, along the coast of Asia Minor, in Phoenicia and in Judaea. When the Apostle Paul was kept under guard in prison in the city of Caesaria of Palestine, the holy Luke remained by his side. And he would not forsake him even when he was sent to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. Together with the Apostle Paul he endured all the difficulties of their voyage across the sea, and nearly lost his life (cf. Acts, chapters 27-28).
The Gospel of St. Luke and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles
On arriving in Rome, the holy Luke again stayed by the Apostle Pauls side and, together with Mark, Aristarchus and several other of the apostles companions, preached Christ in the capital city of the ancient world (this is evident from information given in St. Pauls Epistle to Philemon). In Rome, the holy Luke wrote his Gospel and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. In his Gospel, he described the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ, not only on the basis of what he himself had seen and heard, but also taking into account all that had been handed down by those "who from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word" (Luke 1:2). The holy Apostle Paul guided him in this labor and afterwards approved the Gospel written by St. Luke. In the same way was the Book of the Acts of the Apostles written, as the tradition of the Church says, at the command of the Apostle Paul.
With St. Paul in Rome unto his Martyrdom
After two years in chains in the dungeons of Rome, the Apostle Paul was released and, departing from Rome, visited several of the Churches he had founded before. At this time, the holy Luke was again his companion. But before long, the Emperor Nero initiated a cruel persecution against the Christians in Rome. The Apostle Paul then returned to Rome, that by his discourse and example he might encourage the persecuted Church, make it steadfast, and, if it so pleased God, share with the faithful the crown of martyrdom. He was arrested by the pagans and imprisoned again. Yet even then the holy Luke did not forsake his teacher, and he alone, among all the apostles fellow laborers, stayed at his side during that period of time which was so terrible that the apostle compared himself to a victim doomed to be slaughtered. "I am now ready to be offered," he wrote to his disciple Timothy, "and the time of my departure is at hand. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me; for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me" (2 Tim 4:6, 10-11).
St. Luke in Italy, Dalmatia, Gaul, Macedonia, and Achaia
It is quite possible that Luke was also a witness to the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul in Rome. After the repose of his teacher, the holy Luke, as the tradition of the Church informs us, spread the Gospel of Christ in Italy, Dalmatia, Gaul, and especially, Macedonia, in which he had labored before for several years. He also evangelized Achaia, which borders on Macedonia.
St. Luke in Egypt
When he was already quite elderly, the Apostle Luke undertook a journey to far away Egypt and there labored greatly and endured many afflictions for the holy name of Jesus. He arrived in Egypt, having first passed through all of Libya, and in the Thebaid of Egypt converted many to Christ. In the city of Alexandria, he ordained as bishop a certain Abilius to be a successor to Annas, who had been ordained by the Evangelist Mark, and had carried out his ministry for twenty-two years.
The Martyrdom of St. Luke
Returning to Greece he again set up churches there, primarily in Boetia, ordained priests and deacons, and healed those sick of body and soul. Like his friend and mentor, the Apostle Paul, St. Luke fought the good fight, finished his course and kept the Faith. At the age of eighty-four, he died a martyrs death in Achaia, crucified on an olive tree in lieu of a cross. His precious body was buried in Thebes, the principal city of Boetia, where his holy relics, which were responsible for a multitude of hearings, were to be found until the second half of the fourth century; they were subsequently transferred to Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Empire.
The Holy Relics of St. Luke
The location of the relics of the holy Apostle Luke became known in the fourth century because of the healings worked there. Many cures were worked through them especially for those who suffered from diseases of the eyes. The Emperor Constantius, the son of the holy Emperor Constantine the Great, the equal of the apostles, on learning from the Bishop of Achaia that the body of St. Luke lay in Thebes, dispatched Artemius, then Prefect of Egypt, to translate the relics of the holy Luke to the capital, which Artemius accomplished with great solemnity.
A Miracle at the Transfer of St. Lukes Holy Relics
During the transfer of the holy relics of St. Luke from the seaside to the church, the following miracle took place. A certain Anatolius, a eunuch who was one of the imperial chamberlains, was afflicted with an incurable illness. He had expended a great deal of money on physicians, yet had not obtained a cure; but then, approaching the precious relics of the Apostle Luke with faith in their miraculous power, he entreated the holy one for healing. He drew near the honored reliquary of the saint and, to the extent of his ability, helped to carry it. And what happened? The disease left him before he could walk many steps. After this, he joyfully carried the precious reliquary to the Church of the Holy Apostles, where the relics of St. Luke were enshrined beneath the altar together with the relics of the holy Apostles Andrew and Timothy. There they became a well-spring of miracles and were venerated with particular love by the Orthodox Christians.
St. Luke, the First Iconographer of the Church
The writers of the ancient Church inform us that St. Luke, acceding to the pious desire of the early Christians, was the first to paint the image of the all-holy Theotokos, holding in her arms the pre-eternal Infant, our Lord Jesus Christ; and later painted two other icons of the all-holy Theotokos and brought them to the Mother of God for her approval. On seeing the icons, she said: "May the grace of Him Who was born of me and my mercy be with these icons!"
The holy Luke also painted on boards the images of the holy pre-eminent Apostles Peter and Paul, and was thus himself the initiator of the good work of iconography, to the glory of God, the Mother of God and all the saints, unto the adornment of the holy churches and the salvation of the faithful who piously venerate them. Amen.
The Apolytikion (Troparion) for St. Luke, in Tone 3
O holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke,
Intercede with the merciful God,
That He grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
The Kontakion for St. Luke, in Tone 2
Let us praise the divine Luke,
The herald of true piety, the orator of ineffable mysteries, the star of the Church;
For the Word, Who alone knoweth the secrets of mans heart,
Hath chosen him with the wise Paul to be a teacher of the nations.
Megalynarion for St. Luke
O Luke, discourser of God, blessed is thy right hand,
For by it two sacred writings of the word of God were recorded for us, the faithful,
Together with the noble icon of the Theotokos.
Scientific research conducted in a sarcophagus in the Basilica of Saint Justina in Padua, Italy, appears to confirm the traditionally held belief that the relics kept in this Church are those of Saint Luke the Evangelist. The data of confirmation has been published by the prestigious Jesuit magazine, "Civilta Cattolica," in anticipation of the results that will be officially communicated during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
The acknowledgement of Saint Luke's relics was made in September 1998, 436 years after they were placed in Saint Justina's Basilica. The research was carried out by a commission headed by the anatomy pathologist Vito Terribile Wiel Marin, professor of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Padua. After removing a 3000# marble slab that covered the sarcophagus, they found a lead box weighing 1500#. This box, which measures 75 inches by 16 inches and 20 inches in depth, was resting on a wooden board and had two red wax seals.
Father Daniele Libanori wrote that inside the box, a skeleton was found that was missing the cranium, the right ulna (elbow) and the right astragalus (ankle bone). According to the study, the bones are those of a man who died between 70 and 85 years old, and was 54 tall. This confirms what is known about the evangelist in Christian tradition. He suffered acute, diffused osteoporosis, grave arthrosis of the spinal cord, especially in the lumbar region, and pulmonary emphysema, evidenced in the curvature of the ribs. The bones were arranged with great care, reflecting the esteem in which the person was held, and the cult's antiquity. Vessels in the sarcophagus contained coins, four parchments, and lead weights that give evidence of the authenticity of the relic.
BTTT on 10-18-04, Feast of St. Luke, evangelist!
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The Carthusians in Vermont have a relic of St. Luke. I had the privilege of holding it. I'm sure it was on their altar today;)
I would certainly hope so! If not embedded in the altar stone.
Actually, they have other relics from various Saints. All bone fragments I suppose. Each is embedded in it's own little container (?) that "pops" into the altar stone. That way, they can change which relic is in the altar, depending on the feast day!
I think that's how it works.
I didn't realize that. I thought it was permanent in the altar stone when it was purchased for the altar.
I wonder how many Catholics even know there is a stone in the altar and that it contains a relic?
Not many, I guess.
On FR, probably 60% knowledge.
Luke wrote one of the major portions of the New Testament, a two-volume work comprising the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. In the two books he shows the parallel between the life of Christ and that of the Church. He is the only Gentile Christian among the Gospel writers. Tradition holds him to be a native of Antioch, and Paul calls him "our beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). His Gospel was probably written between A.D. 70 and 85.
Luke appears in Acts during Pauls second journey, remains at Philippi for several years until Paul returns from his third journey, accompanies Paul to Jerusalem and remains near him when he is imprisoned in Caesarea. During these two years, Luke had time to seek information and interview persons who had known Jesus. He accompanied Paul on the dangerous journey to Rome where he was a faithful companion. "Only Luke is with me," Paul writes (2 Timothy 4:11).
Luke wrote as a Gentile for Gentile Christians. This Gospel reveals Luke's expertise in classic Greek style as well as his knowledge of Jewish sources.
The character of Luke may best be seen by the emphases of his Gospel, which has been given a number of subtitles: (1) The Gospel of Mercy: Luke emphasizes Jesus' compassion and patience with the sinners and the suffering. He has a broadminded openness to all, showing concern for Samaritans, lepers, publicans, soldiers, public sinners, unlettered shepherds, the poor. Luke alone records the stories of the sinful woman, the lost sheep and coin, the prodigal son, the good thief. (2) The Gospel of Universal Salvation: Jesus died for all. He is the son of Adam, not just of David, and Gentiles are his friends too. (3) The Gospel of the Poor: "Little people" are prominentZechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, Simeon and the elderly widow, Anna. He is also concerned with what we now call "evangelical poverty." (4) The Gospel of Absolute Renunciation: He stresses the need for total dedication to Christ. (5) The Gospel of Prayer and the Holy Spirit: He shows Jesus at prayer before every important step of his ministry. The Spirit is bringing the Church to its final perfection. (6) The Gospel of Joy: Luke succeeds in portraying the joy of salvation that permeated the primitive Church.
"Then [Jesus] led them [out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God" (Luke 24:50-53).
I. BIOGRAPHY OF SAINT LUKE
The name Lucas (Luke) is probably an abbreviation from Lucanus, like Annas from Ananus, Apollos from Apollonius, Artemas from Artemidorus, Demas from Demetrius, etc. (Schanz, "Evang. des heiligen Lucas", 1, 2; Lightfoot on "Col.", iv, 14; Plummer, "St. Luke", introd.) The word Lucas seems to have been unknown before the Christian Era; but Lucanus is common in inscriptions, and is found at the beginning and end of the Gospel in some Old Latin manuscripts (ibid.). It is generally held that St. Luke was a native of Antioch. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. III, iv, 6) has: Loukas de to men genos on ton ap Antiocheias, ten episteuen iatros, ta pleista suggegonos to Paulo, kai rots laipois de ou parergos ton apostolon homilnkos--"Lucas vero domo Antiochenus, arte medicus, qui et cum Paulo diu conjunctissime vixit, et cum reliquis Apostolis studiose versatus est." Eusebius has a clearer statement in his "Quæstiones Evangelicæ", IV, i, 270: ho de Loukas to men genos apo tes Boomenes Antiocheias en--"Luke was by birth a native of the renowned Antioch" (Schmiedel, "Encyc. Bib."). Spitta, Schmiedel, and Harnack think this is a quotation from Julius Africanus (first half of the third century). In Codex Bezæ (D) Luke is introduced by a "we" as early as Acts, xi, 28; and, though this is not a correct reading, it represents a very ancient tradition. The writer of Acts took a special interest in Antioch and was well acquainted with it (Acts, xi, 19-27; xiii, 1; xiv, 18-21, 25, xv, 22, 23, 30, 35; xviii, 22). We are told the locality of only one deacon, "Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch", vi, 5; and it has been pointed out by Plummer that, out of eight writers who describe the Russian campaign of 1812, only two, who were Scottish, mention that the Russian general, Barclay de Tolly, was of Scottish extraction. These considerations seem to exclude the conjecture of Renan and Ramsay that St. Luke was a native of Philippi.
St. Luke was not a Jew. He is separated by St. Paul from those of the circumcision (Col. iv, 14), and his style proves that he was a Greek. Hence he cannot be identified with Lucius the prophet of Acts, xiii, 1, nor with Lucius of Rom., xvi, 21, who was cognatus of St. Paul. From this and the prologue of the Gospel it follows that Epiphanius errs when he calls him one of the Seventy Disciples; nor was he the companion of Cleophas in the journey to Emmaus after the Resurrection (as stated by Theophylact and the Greek Menol.). St. Luke had a great knowledge of the Septuagint and of things Jewish, which he acquired either as a Jewish proselyte (St. Jerome) or after he became a Christian, through his close intercourse with the Apostles and disciples. Besides Greek, he had many opportunities of acquiring Aramaic in his native Antioch, the capital of Syria. He was a physician by profession, and St. Paul calls him "the most dear physician" (Col., iv, 14). This avocation implied a liberal education, and his medical training is evidenced by his choice of medical language. Plummer suggests that he may have studied medicine at the famous school of Tarsus, the rival of Alexandria and Athens, and possibly met St. Paul there. From his intimate knowledge of the eastern Mediterranean, it has been conjectured that he had lengthened experience as a doctor on board ship. He travailed a good deal, and sends greetings to the Colossians, which seems to indicate that he had visited them.
St. Luke first appears in the Acts at Troas (xvi, 8 sqq.), where he meets St. Paul, and, after the vision, crossed over with him to Europe as an Evangelist, landing at Neapolis and going on to Philippi, "being assured that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them" (note especially the transition into first person plural at verse 10). He was, therefore, already an Evangelist. He was present at the conversion of Lydia and her companions, and lodged in her house. He, together with St. Paul and his companions, was recognized by the pythonical spirit: "This same following Paul and us, cried out, saying: These men are the servants of the most high God, who preach unto you the way of salvation" (verse 17). He beheld Paul and Silas arrested, dragged before the Roman magistrates, charged with disturbing the city, "being Jews", beaten with rods and thrown into prison. Luke and Timothy escaped, probably because they did not look like Jews (Timothy's father was a gentile). When Paul departed from Philippi, Luke was left behind, in all probability to carry on the work of Evangelist. At Thessalonica the Apostle received highly appreciated pecuniary aid from Philippi (Phil., iv, 15, 16), doubtless through the good offices of St. Luke. It is not unlikely that the latter remained at Philippi all the time that St. Paul was preaching at Athens and Corinth, and while he was travelling to Jerusalem and back to Ephesus, and during the three years that the Apostle was engaged at Ephesus. When St. Paul revisited Macedonia, he again met St. Luke at Philippi, and there wrote his Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
St. Jerome thinks it is most likely that St. Luke is "the brother, whose praise is in the gospel through all the churches" (II Cor. viii, 18), and that he was one of the bearers of the letter to Corinth. Shortly afterwards, when St. Paul returned from Greece, St. Luke accompanied him from Philippi to Troas, and with him made the long coasting voyage described in Acts, xx. He went up to Jerusalem, was present at the uproar, saw the attack on the Apostle, and heard him speaking "in the Hebrew tongue" from the steps outside the fortress Antonia to the silenced crowd. Then he witnessed the infuriated Jews, in their impotent rage, rending their garments, yelling, and flinging dust into the air. We may be sure that he was a constant visitor to St. Paul during the two years of the latter's imprisonment at Cæarea. In that period he might well become acquainted with the circumstances of the death of Herod Agrippa I, who had died there eaten up by worms" (skolekobrotos), and he was likely to be better informed on the subject than Josephus. Ample opportunities were given him, 'having diligently attained to all things from the beginning", concerning the Gospel and early Acts, to write in order what had been delivered by those "who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word" (Luke, i, 2, 3). It is held by many writers that the Gospel was written during this time, Ramsay is of opinion that the Epistle to the Hebrews was then composed, and that St. Luke had a considerable share in it. When Paul appealed to Cæsar, Luke and Aristarchus accompanied him from Cæsarea, and were with him during the stormy voyage from Crete to Malta. Thence they went on to Rome, where, during the two years that St. Paul was kept in prison, St. Luke was frequently at his side, though not continuously, as he is not mentioned in the greetings of the Epistle to the Philippians (Lightfoot, "Phil.", 35). He was present when the Epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon were written, and is mentioned in the salutations given in two of them: "Luke the most dear physician, saluteth you" (Col., iv, 14); "There salute thee . . . Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke my fellow labourers" (Philem., 24). St. Jerome holds that it was during these two years Acts was written.
We have no information about St. Luke during the interval between St. Paul's two Roman imprisonments, but he must have met several of the Apostles and disciples during his various journeys. He stood beside St. Paul in his last imprisonment; for the Apostle, writing for the last time to Timothy, says: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. . . . Make haste to come to me quickly. For Demas hath left me, loving this world. . . . Only Luke is with me" (II Tim., iv, 7-11). It is worthy of note that, in the three places where he is mentioned in the Epistles (Col., iv, 14; Philem., 24; II Tim., iv, 11) he is named with St. Mark (cf. Col., iv, 10), the other Evangelist who was not an Apostle (Plummer), and it is clear from his Gospel that he was well acquainted with the Gospel according to St. Mark; and in the Acts he knows all the details of St. Peter's delivery--what happened at the house of St. Mark's mother, and the name of the girl who ran to the outer door when St. Peter knocked. He must have frequently met St. Peter, and may have assisted him to draw up his First Epistle in Greek, which affords many reminiscences of Luke's style. After St. Paul's martyrdom practically all that is known about him is contained in the ancient "Prefatio vel Argumentum Lucæ", dating back to Julius Africanus, who was born about A.D. 165. This states that he was unmarried, that he wrote the Gospel, in Achaia, and that he died at the age of seventy-four in Bithynia (probably a copyist's error for Boeotia), filled with the Holy Ghost. Epiphanius has it that he preached in Dalmatia (where there is a tradition to that effect), Gallia (Galatia?), Italy, and Macedonia. As an Evangelist, he must have suffered much for the Faith, but it is controverted whether he actually died a martyr's death. St. Jerome writes of him (De Vir. III., vii). "Sepultus est Constantinopoli, ad quam urbem vigesimo Constantii anno, ossa ejus cum reliquiis Andreæ Apostoli translata sunt [de Achaia?]." St. Luke its always represented by the calf or ox, the sacrificial animal, because his Gospel begins with the account of Zachary, the priest, the father of John the Baptist. He is called a painter by Nicephorus Callistus (fourteenth century), and by the Menology of Basil II, A.D. 980. A picture of the Virgin in S. Maria Maggiore, Rome, is ascribed to him, and can be traced to A.D. 847 It is probably a copy of that mentioned by Theodore Lector, in the sixth century. This writer states that the Empress Eudoxia found a picture of the Mother of God at Jerusalem, which she sent to Constantinople (see "Acta SS.", 18 Oct.). As Plummer observes. it is certain that 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 favourite themes of Christian painters.
St. Luke 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. The style of the Gospel is superior to any N. T. writing except Hebrews. Renan says (Les Evangiles, xiii) that it is the most literary of the Gospels. St. Luke is a painter in words. "The author of the Third Gospel and of the Acts is the most versatile of all New Testament writers. He can be as Hebraistic as the Septuagint, and as free from Hebraisms as Plutarch. . . He is Hebraistic in describing Hebrew society and Greek when describing Greek society" (Plummer, introd.). His great command of Greek is shown by the richness of his vocabulary and the freedom of his constructions.
BTTT on the Feast of St. Luke the evangelist, October 18, 2005!
BTTT on the Feast of St. Luke the evangelist, October 18, 2006!
Saint Luke, the Evangelist
Saint Luke Painting the Virgin's Portrait
1545 -- Oil on canvas
Groeninge Museum, Bruges
Saint Luke , born of a pagan family, was a convert to the faith. He was a companion of Saint Paul, who called him "the beloved physician" (Col. 4:14), and Luke's Gospel was written in accordance with Paul's preaching. He accompanied the Apostle Paul on two of his missionary journeys, and was with Paul in Rome when the Emperor Nero imprisoned Paul. Luke also wrote the account of the early days of the Church, Acts of the Apostles. According to tradition, Luke was also an artist who painted the likeness of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tradition assigns Luke the emblem of the Ox, from Revelation 4:7, the description of the four winged creatures who are thought to represent the Four Evangelists -- the others are Matthew (Man), Mark (Lion), and John (Eagle).
Father, you chose Luke the Evangelist to reveal by preaching and writing the mystery of your love for the poor.
Unite in one heart and spirit all who glory in your name, and let all nations come to see your salvation.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
First Reading: II Timothy 4:10-17
For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you; for he is very useful in serving me. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will requite him for his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the message fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:1-9
After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'
Great thread. Bumping for the Feast of St. Luke.
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