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St. Luke (October 18)

Born of a pagan family and became a convert to the Christian faith. He accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey. Luke compiled the third Gospel that is named for him, as well as Acts of the Apostles. In the Gospel, Luke describes at length the infancy of Jesus and he emphasized the Lord's prayerfulness and his mercy. The great parable of the Prodigal Son is found in Luke. The evangelist writes sensitively of Jesus' regard for women as well as His interest in the underprivileged and the outcasts of His society.

In Acts of the Apostles (which can be consided a sequel to the Gospel that he wrote) Luke relates the beginnings of the infant Church as it develops under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Luke saw clearly the continuity of the church from the time of Jesus to its later expansion into the Gentile world. In his writings, he shows the Church's roots going back to the traditions of Isreal and its future will touch all the nations of the earth. The Holy Spirit, descending at Pentecost, guides the Church with surprising wisdom and power.

One tradtion says that Luke died at Beotia, in Greece, at the age of 84. He is patron of painters and physicians. In art he is represented by an ox because he begins his Gospel with the account of the priest Zachary sacrificing in the temple.