St. Luke, the Evangelist
“Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me.” 2 Timothy 4:10-11.
Behind the success of St. Paul as a Preacher and a great evangelist was a man called Luke, the author of The Gospel According To Luke as well as The Acts of the Apostles. This man, Luke was not only a great writer, but he was also a trained physician.
Luke was a Gentile converted to the faith by St. Paul himself. This conversion took place while Luke was treating Paul during an illness in the course of his second missionary journey. St. Jerome and St. John Chrysostom described the Gospel of Luke as St. Paul’s Gospel. That is to say Luke documented the content of St. Paul’s messages to the churches he visited.
Of all the four Gospels, Luke is a winner when it comes to storytelling. Luke laid so much emphasis on Christian purity, poverty, joyfulness and the importance of women. Luke is said to have interviewed Mary in the course of his composition hence, Luke is able to provide a very detailed graphic description of the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Birth and Early Life of Jesus.
What does it take to be an evangelist? Is it just to write homilies or preach sermons? Luke’s life tells us that it is more than that. To be an evangelist is to walk the talk. When the going became tough, Paul (in today’s first reading) writing to Timothy described how some left him, but then as he carefully mentioned: “Luke alone is with me!” Luke stood by Paul when it seemed most inconvenient. Will I be spoken well of like this?
In today’s Gospel passage, Luke tells us how Jesus recruited seventy others into the ministry with some specific instructions. The very fact that Jesus called such a large number on one occasion gives credence to the call of the Laity. One clear fact about this seventy (or seventy-two in some translations) is that they were not all Apostles.
Amongst them must have included traders, tax collectors, doctors, carpenters, fishermen, cobblers, perhaps even some Pharisees or scribes who followed Jesus. This passage is particularly significant on the Feast of St. Luke given that Luke was trained as a Doctor, yet he is celebrated today as the writer of two books in the Holy Bible.
The life of Luke teaches us a very important lesson: You don’t have to be ordained/professed as a priest or sister, neither must you open a church before you can do the work of God. Right where you are, you can make even more significant contributions to the Christian Faith than many ordained ministers. All you need is to allow God to make use of your time and talents.