Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist
Today is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. It is believed that St. Luke was born a Greek and a gentile. A physician at Antioch, and a painter, St. Luke became a convert of Saint Paul and afterwards his fellow-laborer. Luke was the writer of the Gospel and its “companion volume,” the Acts of the Apostles and has been identified with St. Paul’s “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). Saint Luke shared the shipwreck and perils of Saint Paul’s voyage to Rome, and was with him in his last days. He later died a martyr’s death in Achaia. After St. John, St. Luke’s writings (both his Gospel and Acts of the Apostles) are my favorite part of the New Testament.
Although Luke was not an eye witness, he was a historian who carefully researched his material and obtained details from eye witnesses. As a physician, Luke emphasizes the miracles and the merciful love of Jesus, which heals his children and welcomes all into his arms — especially the sinner, the outcast, the gentile. Luke shows us the compassion of Jesus, especially toward women and children. He gives prominence not only to the group of women who follow him from the beginning of his ministry, but he also to Mary, from the Incarnation and the infancy narratives to his mention of her being present with the Apostles at Pentecost. His is the only Gospel to give an account of the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. Luke’s gospel is noted for its praise and thanksgiving and is a very poetic book. For example, Mary’s song, 1:46-55. Song of Zacharias, 1:68-79, and The Song of the Angels, 2:8-14. Finally, Luke’s is the gospel of Jesus praying, and his parables concerning prayer.
As a physician, St. Luke is the patron saint of the medical profession. He is also the patron of artists and painters, as tradition holds that he painted an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
St. Luke is symbolized by the ox, The ox, recognized as the animal of sacrifice, was applied to St. Luke because his Gospel emphasizes the atonement made by Christ’s sacrifice of himself on the Cross. (Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary)