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Saint Luke, Evangelist (Feast)
The Kingdom of God is at hand. (Luke 10:9)
Did you know that St. Luke wrote more than 25 percent of the New Testament? In addition to the Gospel that bears his name, he also wrote the Acts of the Apostles.
In the Book of Acts, Luke offers a clear historical account of the birth and growth of the early Church. His Gospel, which follows a loosely constructed historical outline, focuses much more on telling us about Jesus’ message. Let’s look at a few of Luke’s favorite themes.
First, the message of Jesus is one of joy (Luke 1:14, 44, 47, 58). Luke alone tells the stories of the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. Luke is also the only one who speaks about the joy that erupts in heaven when the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son are found (15:1-32).
Second, Jesus’ message is one of mercy. Luke tells how Jesus comforted a repentant woman who anointed his feet with perfume and how he shared a meal with Zacchaeus, a notorious tax collector (7:36-50; 19:1-10).
Third, Jesus’ message is about caring for the poor. Luke tells us that Jesus was born into poverty. He warns us about the dangers of riches (Luke 6:24). And he warns us not to get ensnared by the desire for wealth (12:16-21). His parable about the rich man and the poor Lazarus gives us a chilling image of what can happen if we close ourselves to the needy (16:19-31).
Fourth, Jesus’ message is about prayer. Luke depicts Jesus as praying at every important moment in his life: at his baptism (3:21), when he chose his apostles (6:12), at the Transfiguration (9:28-29), and in the Garden of Gethsemane (22:41).
Finally, Jesus’ message is about being filled with the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist, Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Simeon were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus promised that we too will be filled (Acts 1:5, 8).
Joy. Mercy. Caring for the poor. Prayer. The Holy Spirit. These are all ways that Luke has told us that God’s kingdom is “at hand” (10:9). Let’s take hold of that kingdom today!
“Lord, fill us with your joy as we live for you today.”
2 Timothy 4:10-17
Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18
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