Have You Ever Wondered Why Our Parish is Named After St. Luke?
In some Christian Traditions, churches are named after people we call saints. Saints are those whose lives glorified and honored God in particular ways. Saints serve as examples for all of us, and remind us that we are called to reflect God’s love and presence in the world. Saints also remind us that our lives of faith are intricately connected with one another. In other words, the journey of faith cannot be made alone. We need to surround ourselves with others who help inspire, challenge and stretch us into growth.
Our parish is named after St. Luke, the evangelist. The following is a reflection on St. Luke from Saint of the Day by Leonard Foley, O.F.M. and Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.:
Luke wrote one of the major portions of the New Testament, a two-volume work comprising the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. In the two books he shows the parallel between the life of Christ and the life of the Church. He is the only Gentile Christian among the Gospel writers. Tradition holds him to be a native of Antioch, and Paul calls him “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). His Gospel was probably written between A.D. 70 and 85.
Luke appears in Acts during Paul’s second journey, remains at Philippi for several years until Paul returns from his third journey, accompanies Paul to Jerusalem and remains near him when he is imprisoned in Caesarea. During these two years, Luke had time to seek information and interview persons who had known Jesus. He accompanied Paul on the dangerous journey to Rome where he was a faithful companion. “Luke is the only one with me,” Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:11.
Luke’s Gospel emphasizes some important themes for us to reflect on as followers of Jesus.
- Gospel of Mercy: Luke emphasizes Jesus’ compassion and patience with sinners and suffering. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus has a broadminded openness to all, showing concerns for Samaritans, lepers, publicans, soldiers, public sinners, unlettered shepherds, and the poor. Luke alone tells the stories of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus, the lost sheep and coin, and the prodigal son.
- Gospel of Universal Salvation: Luke emphasizes that Jesus died for ALL. Jesus is the Son of Adam, not just of David, and Gentiles are his friends too.
- Gospel of the Poor: “Little people” are prominent in Luke – Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, Simeon and the elderly widow, Anna.
- Gospel of Absolute Renunciation: Luke stresses the need for total dedication to Christ.
- Gospel of Prayer and the Holy Spirit: Luke shows Jesus at prayer before every important step of his ministry. The Spirit is bringing the church to its final perfection.
- The Gospel of Joy: Luke succeeds in portraying the joy of salvation that permeated the primitive church.
I cannot think of a better framework for our mission as St. Luke’s parish in this corner of God’s vineyard! Namely, we are called to be a people of prayer, totally dedicated to God, to reveal God’s mercy to ALL people, especially those on the margins of society. And we do all of this work with great joy because we, too, have experienced the gift of God’s mercy in our lives, and have come to recognize that God continues to work on and in us, shaping us and all life in order to build a kingdom only God can dream!
The Feast of St. Luke is celebrated on October 18th.
Happy Feast of St. Luke!