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When our loved ones are not in a relationship with Christ – maybe have strayed from Him – we should remember that the Lord, in His infinite mercy, can transform even the hardest of hearts and perform miracles in people’s lives.

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What was one of his most significant accomplishments?

Perhaps Luke’s most admirable accomplishment was his work as a writer. Luke crafted two volumes of writing that present the overall message of Christ and give an accurate historical account of the formative years of Christianity. These narratives are the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles

What is the primary purpose of the writings in the Gospel of Luke?

In his writing, St. Luke shows how the salvation promised to Israel was accomplished by Jesus and extended to the Gentiles.  As a careful historian, Luke sets the scene of Jesus' birth in its political context by mentioning various rulers and places at the time.  He presents a comprehensive and articulate understanding of the overall life of Jesus from His birth to His Resurrection.  The overall tone of the Gospel of Luke was inviting and encouraging, as he wrote for the non-Jews of the day to understand that Jesus had not only come for the salvation of the Jews but that salvation was extended to the Gentiles and to everyone.

"And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!'” - Luke 1:28

In what language was the Gospel of Luke written?

The common language of the Mediterranean region in Luke’s day was Greek, and thus St. Luke wrote his Gospel and the Acts in Greek. When citing the Jewish Scriptures, he quotes the Septuagint, which the rabbis of Alexandria in Egypt had translated from the original Hebrew for use by the Jewish diaspora in Rome, Antioch, and throughout the Mediterranean. Thus outside Judea, Greek became the first language of evangelization for both Jew and Greek, and the Septuagint the Church’s first version of the Old Testament.

What were some significant events that St. Luke covered in his Gospel?

St. Luke’s Gospel is one of the three Synoptic Gospels, along with St. Matthew’s and St. Mark’s. There are, however, certain events that St. Luke records that the former two do not. Among the most prominent are the Birth of John the Baptist (1:5-25), Jesus being foretold (1:26-38), the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (1:39-56), the birth of John the Baptist (1:57-80), the Circumcision and Presentation (2:21-40), the Finding in the Temple (2:41-52), the Good Samaritan (10:29-37), and the Parable of the Lost Son (15:11-32).

Where did Luke get the information for his Gospel?

Even though St. Luke wasn’t an Apostle, and likely never met Jesus, he tells us in Luke 1:1-4, and in Acts 1:1-5, that his sources were eyewitnesses to the events, and to the teaching of Jesus. He himself was probably introduced to the faith by the Apostle Paul, and even accompanied him as he brought the faith to Europe (Col 4:14, Philemon 1:24, 2 Tim 4:11).  It also seems clear from the infancy narratives of chapters 1 & 2 that he received those details from the only witness who knew them, the Mother of the Lord. Finally, since he traveled with Paul to Rome, he also would have met St. Peter and St. Mark. From all of them, he would have obtained accurate and detailed accounts of the various events.

What events celebrated as feast days are recorded by Luke in his Gospel or in Acts?

The Church’s liturgical year is made of feasts that celebrate the events of salvation history. St. Luke records many of the events and individuals so celebrated, including the Annunciation to Mary (Lk. 1:26-38), the Birth of John (Lk 1:36-37), and of Our Lord (Lk. 2:1-7), as well as the His Circumcision (Lk 2:21) and Presentation in the Temple. Like the other evangelists, he records the events of Christ’s ministry and His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Then, in the Acts, he continues from the Ascension to Pentecost, the election of Matthias, the death of the proto-martyr Stephen, the Conversion of Paul, and the martyrdom of James the Great. We also meet other early believers, such as Barnabas, John Mark, Lydia, and Dorcas, all of whom the Church celebrates for their faith in Christ. 

“And he said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on.’” – Luke 12: 22

How does the Gospel of Luke portray the Blessed Virgin Mary?

St. Luke gives us a very intimate and beautiful depiction of our Blessed Mother, showing her initial wonder and surprise at the arrival of the angel Gabriel and her later acceptance of her role as the mother of Christ (Luke 1:26). Luke's Gospel also includes the story of Mary visiting her pregnant cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39), and St. Luke alone includes the beautiful “Magnificat,” Mary’s song of praise (Luke 1:47). He is known to have had a close relationship with our Blessed Mother and based his infancy narrative on stories she told him as a firsthand witness to the life of Christ. 

Did St. Luke paint images of Mary and Jesus?

St. Luke was said to have been very skilled at painting, and tradition holds that he painted images of the Blessed Mother and the Infant Child Jesus. Theodorus Lector, a sixth-century Greek historian, supported this claim, saying a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary – painted by St. Luke – was sent to the Empress Pulcheria. She then placed it in the Hodegon Monastery, which Pulcheria built in Mary’s honor at Constantinople.

An ancient inscription was also discovered near the Church of St. Mary in Rome, saying a picture of the Blessed Virgin was discovered there, “One of the seven painted by St. Luke.” Three or four of these images still exist today.

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What does the spiritual lesson of the Parable of the Prodigal Son teach us?

Luke 15: 11-32 recounts the parable of the Prodigal Son. It tells the story of a father who allows his son to have his portion of the inheritance, despite how the son asks for it and his intentions after that.  The prodigal son wastes his inheritance and, when he is through with it, is repentant and decides to return home, afraid of what his father might say to him for what he had done. 

The spiritual lesson from this parable is the merciful love of God the Father. Despite our wrong decisions, God the Father, like the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, is always waiting with open arms. If we are truly repentant, our Heavenly Father cares more about our return home to him than what we had done while we were away. Pope St. John Paul II writes at length on this parable, in his encyclical on God the Father, Rich in Mercy

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“Luke emphasizes that Jesus does not like compromises and requires a commitment of the whole person … Luke, who emphasizes the radical requirements for following Christ, is also the Evangelist who describes the joy of those who become Christ's disciples.” - St. Pope John Paul II

What was the relationship between St. Luke and St. Paul?

They were close friends and traveling companions on their mission of evangelization, beginning in Troas in Asia Minor and continuing on in Greece and ultimately to Rome. St. Paul refers to him as “the beloved physician” (Col 4:14), and at the end of the Acts of the Apostles, Luke records what is effectively Paul’s “last testament” (Acts 28:23-31). Whether Luke was present in Rome when St. Paul was martyred is not recorded. 

Why did Luke write to Theophilus?

Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles to “most excellent Theophilus” ― the name being Latin for “friend of God.”  As such, it suggests that the Gospel and the Acts were addressed to a Christian, whether a particular person or as a pseudonym for Christian readers generally. The use of such literary devices was not uncommon in his day. If to a specific person, some think Luke was writing to an imperial official whom he had met while in Rome, and whom he wished to educate further about Christ.

“The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.’” – Luke 1:35

How did St. Luke die?

Although some histories credit St. Luke with martyrdom, the Church has not recognized him as a martyr. It is generally held that some time after the death of St. Paul he went to Boeotia in Asia Minor, and there died at a great age.

What did the Acts of the Apostles highlight?

This book of the Bible is the second part of St. Luke’s two-volume work (the first being the Gospel according to Luke). The Acts of the Apostles gives detailed accounts of the activity of the Apostles after Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven, especially those of St. Peter, and St. Paul. In doing so, it sheds great insight into the earliest history of the Church. 

Why is the book the Acts of the Apostles important?

The book of Acts is essential because it serves as “proof” that the work of the Apostles after Jesus’ Ascension was based on the teachings of Christ Himself. It follows the storyline of how the salvation promised to Israel in the Old Testament, accomplished by Jesus, was now being carried out through the Holy Spirit in the Apostles. 

Acts also shows how the Holy Spirit working through the Apostles caused a change in them. This is seen for example in the suffering they faced for the sake of Christ, the miracles they performed, the first martyrdom, and the transformation of St. Paul.

Videos About St. Luke

What is the symbol of St. Luke the Evangelist?

The symbol of St. Luke is a winged ox. Luke begins his Gospel by announcing the birth of John the Baptist, during which his father, Zechariah, was offering a sacrifice in the temple (Luke 1).  The ox symbol reminds us of the sacrifice our Lord made for our redemption and the sacrifices of oxen made in the Temple. 

What is St. Luke the patron saint of?

St. Luke is a patron saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, notaries, brewers, and butchers.

Why is St. Luke the patron saint of doctors?

St. Luke is one of the patron saints of doctors because he was said to be a physician by profession. St. Jerome claims he was very eminent in his profession, and St. Paul, referring to his friend, called him his “most dear physician” (Colossians 4:14).

Why is St. Luke the patron saint of artists?

St. Luke is one of the patron saints of artists because he is said to have been very skilled in painting. Tradition holds that he painted images of the Blessed Mother and the Child Jesus.