Gospel of Luke

Luke wrote two books, the Gospel known by his name, and the Book of Acts. (See Acts of the Apostles.) His gospel is our topic today.

We must mention, first of all, some words about the man that will help us in our quick look at his book, the subject of this article. Luke is a Greek (his feast service on October 18 calls him “the beauty of the Antiochians.” Perhaps he was an Antiochian from Syria). He converted to Christ around the year 43 AD when Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Antioch. He accompanied Paul and helped him in his work. He was an educated man. He was fluent in the Greek spoken at the time and knew the Jewish background well (this is indicated, for example, by the quotations he took from the Septuagint, his use of Greek titles, and the Semitic character that prevails in Jesus’ sayings).

Luke wrote his Gospel between the years 80-90, presenting the history of faith and salvation in a rich and elegant way. Saint Ernaeus, Bishop of Lyons (+202), confirmed the authenticity of the attribution of the Third Gospel to Saint Luke, “the beloved physician,” Paul’s friend and companion (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4:11), and no one has ever opposed this opinion.

The opening of the Gospel (1:1-4; see also the introduction to the Acts of the Apostles) indicates that Luke addressed his book to a dear one in the Lord named Theophilus - a well-known literary method in his time that was adopted by Greek writers - and this does not prevent it from being said that he addressed it, through Theophilus, To all the Lord’s dear ones, especially those with Greek culture who lived outside Palestine. In writing his Gospel, Luke relied on reliable sources, and the Gospel of Mark is considered one of his main sources (Colossians 4:11 and 14, Philemon 24, and 2 Timothy 4:11 suggest that Luke knew Mark personally).

Luke is characterized by a sensitive feeling, and his Gospel was called “The Gospel of Mercy,” because in it he shows God’s tenderness, especially for the poor, sinners, women, and children who were suffering from forms of contempt in those days. Perhaps his accompaniment with the Apostle Paul imbued him with an apostolic mission based on reminding those near and far of the necessity of memorizing the Word of God and living according to its requirements in order to be true members of the Church of the Holy Spirit.

The design of the Third Gospel is clear in its broad outlines. After the introduction (1:1-2:52), we see Jesus in Galilee announcing - after a quick introduction (the message of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus and his temptation) - his Paschal mystery (3:1-9:50), and calling us to “follow him” The road to Jerusalem (9:51-19:27) where we will witness, in Jerusalem, the fulfillment of this mystery through his death and resurrection (19:28-24:35). We can further summarize this brief design by saying that Luke's Gospel is a journey to Jerusalem. It is the journey of the greatest joy announced by heaven and radiating from the beginning of the Gospel to its end. A joy that lies in faith in God, who - while we were sinners - condescended and loved us by forgiving our sins and granting us salvation, and it is evident in every student who took it upon himself to proclaim this saving truth in every time and place.

Luke's main concern was to talk about the coming of pagans like him to believe in Jesus, who is “the son of man, the son of God” (3:38), as he explained in a genealogy in which Jesus was revealed as the one coming to return all of humanity to God after correcting their relationship with him, because through him The kingdom has been opened to everyone. In fact, his Gospel addresses a church (of pagan origins) that has not yet been able - even though it has accepted grace - to determine its position in relation to the Jewish world. We see that it sank into many defects. It lost its initial apostolic momentum as it became lukewarm and neglected prayer. Some of its members denied it, and many of them behaved in a Pharisaic spirit, despising sinners and behaving harshly with the poor and sinners. This is what made Luke present Christ - and prophecy had ceased a long time ago - as the new prophet whom the poor of God in Palestine were waiting for, and who did not distinguish in his love between a Jew and a pagan.

In his Gospel, Luke uses special vocabulary. He calls Jesus “Kyrios” (meaning: Master or Lord), whose power exceeds all the lords of the world - especially the emperors - and they are nothing before Him, and he calls him “the Savior” - a title that his reader prefers to any other title - who “came To seek what was lost” (19:10). There is no doubt that his Gospel is one of the Gospels that most highlights the successive stages that the history of salvation has passed through (the Old Testament, the time of Jesus, the time of the Church, and the completion of everything in the last time), and it is, therefore, the most prolific of them announcing the immediacy of this salvation, for everything is completed with Him “today.” Because everything was given to us through Jesus, the Lord and Savior, whose coming kingdom is present in the world and in us from now on.

Luke illuminated the world with light because he broadcasted “the glory of God,” and the prayers on his feast day show that he is able to ascend to heaven all who obey the words written by his hand, which are wings with which he can ascend “toward the love of God.”

My parish bulletin
Sunday, October 12, 1997
Issue 41

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