Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist - October 18

Today, October 18th, we celebrate the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist!

He was born of a noble pagan family in Antioch. St. Luke was a doctor who converted to the faith in the year 40 and later accompanied St Paul on his Second Apostolic Journey. He was also at the side of the Apostle of the Gentiles towards the end of his life. This author of the third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles gives us the most informative account of Christ's infancy and provides us with a masterful portrayal of the truth of divine mercy.

Looking for something to guide your prayer today? Here's the first portion of the meditation from In Conversation with God for today's feast of St. Luke: 

The Gospel of St Luke and striving for perfection in our work.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings of peace. We should thank St. Luke today for bringing good tidings to mankind because he was a faithful instrument in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Moved by the grace of divine inspiration he passed on to us a remarkable Gospel account as well as the history of primitive Christianity which we have in the Acts of the Apostles.

As in all work done well, the inspired writing of Sacred Scripture required human effort. The help of God does not supplant human talent. Luke himself refers to the diligence involved in the task: After following up all things carefully from the very first he made an orderly account. He indicates too, that the information is in keeping with the testimony of those who were eyewitness from the beginning. The task of composition meant assiduously interviewing firsthand observers, most probably Our Lady herself, the Apostles and the protagonists of the miracles who were still alive. St Jerome observes of his finely wrought style that it is a reflection of the reliability of his sources.

Thanks to Luke's attentive correspondence with the grace of the Holy Spirit, today we can read an account of Jesus' infancy and the series of superb parables that he alone recounts. We recall the parable of the prodigal son, the one of the good Samaritan, the other about the negligent administrator, and of course the episode of poor Lazarus and the rich man. Also unique to his Gospel is the wonderful account of the two travellers to Emmaus. It is exquisitely crafted down to the last detail.

St. Luke describes the divine mercy shown to those most in need of it as no other Evangelist does. He stresses Christ's love for sinners to show that Jesus came to save those who were lost. He also relates to us the Lord's forgiving of the woman taken in adultery," his stay in the home of Zachaeus of ill repute, and the gaze of Jesus that works a transformation in Peter after his denials. He tells us about Christ's promise of salvation to the repentant thief, and of our Savior's prayer for those who crucify and insult him on Calvary.

The role of women in society, seldom considered in the first century of Christianity, plays an important part in St Luke's Gospel. Jesus makes a concerted effort to restore to them their dignity, and this Evangelist alone describes several such figures, including the widow of Naim." the woman who bathed Christ's feet as a sign of her fervent repentance, and the Galileans who put their goods at Jesus' disposal to follow and serve him. Then there are his friends, the two sisters from Bethany, the stooped woman whom he cured, and the group of weeping women from Jerusalem who show Christ compassion while he carries the Cross.

We have a great deal for which to thank St Luke. The man who was to become Pope John Paul I penned an imaginary letter of esteem to this particular gospel writer: You are the only one who offers us a moving account of the birth and infancy of Christ which we can savor every Christmas. There is one verse that stands out above all the others: 'Wrapped in swaddling clothes, he was laid in a manger.' This single phrase has given rise to crib scenes throughout the world and to thousands of beautiful paintings. These artistic creations are one more invitation for us to contemplate the life of the Holy Family in Bethlehem and share in their daily life in Nazareth.

Today we pause to consider the human perfection required and the effort involved in our own work. It may not stand out in a startling way so as to be admired by all, but all our tasks well-done for God are of lasting value. This is the precious gift we always have at hand to offer our Lord. Work carried out without interest or attention to detail is not worthy of the name, because it cannot be pleasing to God or of service to others. Let us pause to consider how we carry out the responsibilities that we should offer up every day for the glory of the Creator.

Read the rest of today's meditation in Volume 7 of In Conversation with God - available in both paperback and ebook formats.