There is an old adage in theology and philosophy that goes like this: it is better to know a little about important things than a lot about unimportant ones. That being the case, we are immensely indebted to the four evangelists—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—who have given us the gospels in which we find nearly all that we know about the life, the thoughts, the words, and the actions of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today the Church celebrates one of those four: Saint Luke. As far as we know, he was the only gentile (that is, non-Jewish) writer of the New Testament. And when we consider those passages in his gospel that are found only in his account of the life of Jesus, we realize how much we owe him. For example, nearly all of the infancy gospel is found only in Saint Luke. The annunciation, visitation, the presentation in the temple, and the finding of the boy Jesus there are found only in Saint Luke. And most of the details of our Lord’s birth are found there, too, to be supplemented by passages from the gospel according to Saint Matthew.
Then, in the public life of Jesus, we learn of the parable of good Samaritan from Saint Luke, the parable of the prodigal son, the parable of the publican and the pharisee in the temple. Where would our understanding of Jesus be without these pillars of the gospel?
The great Italian poet Dante who wrote in the middle ages spoke of Saint Luke as “the writer of the gentleness of Jesus.” After Pentecost, Saint Luke became the disciple of Saint Paul and traveled with him extensively. He then wrote the Acts of the Apostles, to trace the rise of the early Church as he had written of Christ himself in the gospel.
So today, we have the joy of celebrating Saint Luke who has given us so much of that which is SUPREMELY important in our knowledge of God, our Divine Lord, and of our holy faith. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.