Saint Luke the Evangelist

Saint Luke the Evangelist

Saint Luke was a Greek physician who was from the Greek city of Antioch, the great commercial center whose ruins lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.

He is considered the author of both The Gospel According to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, which originally formed a single literary work, referred to as Luke-Acts.  The beginning of Acts refers to the Gospel and is dedicated to the same individual, Theophilus.  It is believed that he wrote his New Testament works in the ancient Greek city of Achaea for a relatively affluent Greek Christian community.

Luke is also thought to have accompanied Saint Paul on his second missionary journey to Philippi, and his third missionary journey to Jerusalem.  He also traveled to Rome with Paul and stayed with him during his captivity.

Luke’s New Testament work emphasizes the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and his concern for the poor.  Parables such as the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, the Good Samaritan and the Rich Fool, are unique to Luke’s writings.

Women were featured more prominently in Luke’s portrayal of Jesus’ life than in any other.  He dedicated the first two chapters of the Gospel to Mary in the nativity narrative, and other women included Elizabeth, Mary Magdalene, the widow of Nain, the women of Jerusalem and several others.  He also places great emphasis on the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and the importance of being a good steward of one’s prayer life.

But Luke didn’t limit his writings on stewardship to prayer.  He also offers a sophisticated theology of stewardship and discipleship in his Gospel as they relate to wealth and sharing one’s possessions.  Luke has a specific interest in stewardship and his treatment of “almsgiving” was radical, with no parallel in the Greek society within which he was writing.  Luke urged wealthy Christians in his community to be mindful of their stewardship responsibilities as it pertained to their spiritual lives, their community, and to the poor.

According to tradition, Saint Luke the Evangelist lived until he was 84 years old and died in Beotia, Greece.  He is the patron saint of physicians, surgeons, students, artists and butchers. His feast day is October 18.

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