St. Luke

Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke's life from Scripture and from early Church historians. It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those "of the circumcision" -- in other words, Jews -- and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke's gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Luke was born at Antioch in Syria.

In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. Not only do we have Paul's word, but Eusebius, Saint Jerome, Saint Irenaeus and Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician. We have to go to Acts to follow the trail of Luke's Christian ministry. We know nothing about his conversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of the Acts is written in the third person, as an historian recording facts, up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts 16:8-9 we hear of Paul's company "So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' " Then suddenly in 16:10 "they" becomes "we": "When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them."

So Luke first joined Paul's company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul left Philippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey. In Acts 20:5, the switch to "we" tells us that Luke has left Philippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem. Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61: "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers" (Philemon 24). And after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is Luke who remains with Paul to the end: "Only Luke is with me" (2 Timothy 4:11).

Luke's inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: "Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus" (Luke 1:1-3). Luke's unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke's is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses "Blessed are the poor" instead of "Blessed are the poor in spirit" in the beatitudes. Only in Luke's gospel do we hear Mary 's Magnificat where she proclaims that God "has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:52-53).

Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus' life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke's gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation, Mary's visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus' disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: "Hail Mary full of grace" spoken at the Annunciation and "Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus" spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.

Forgiveness and God's mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Throughout Luke's gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God's mercy. Reading Luke's gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God's kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God's mercy for everyone.

The reports of Luke's life after Paul's death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 Boeotia after settling in Greece to write his Gospel.

A tradition that Luke was a painter seems to have no basis in fact. Several images of Mary appeared in later centuries claiming him as a painter but these claims were proved false. Because of this tradition, however, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures and is often portrayed as painting pictures of Mary.

He is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice -- the sacrifice Jesus made for all the world.

Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.

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St. Ignatius of Antioch

Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, was the disciple of Saint John the Evangelist. Believing that the Church on earth should resemble that of the heavenly Jerusalem of which Saint John wrote in his Apocalypse, he established singing in choirs in his church at Antioch, after a vision of the celestial choirs who sang in that manner. When the emperor Domitian persecuted the Church, Saint Ignatius obtained peace for his own flock by fasting and prayer, although for his own part he desired to suffer with Christ, and to prove himself a perfect disciple. The Roman emperors often visited Antioch, one of the cities of first importance of the empire. In 107, the eighth year of the reign of the emperor Trajan, he came to Antioch and forced the Christians to choose between apostasy and death. Saint Ignatius, who had already governed that church for forty years, continued to fortify it against apostasy, and did not flee. Arrested and brought before the emperor, the latter addressed him: Who are you, poor devil, to set our commands at naught? Call not poor devil, Ignatius answered, one who bears God within him. And when the emperor asked him what he meant by that, Ignatius explained that he bore in his heart Christ, crucified for his sake. Change your ideas, and I will make you a priest of the great Jupiter, and you will be called father' by the Senate. What could such honors matter to me, a priest of Christ, who offer Him every day a sacrifice of praise, and am ready to offer myself to Him also? To whom? To that Jesus who was crucified by Pontius Pilate? Yes, and with whom sin was crucified, and the devil, its author, vanquished.

The questions and the courageous replies continued for a time that day and also on the following one. Saint Ignatius said, I will not sacrifice; I fear neither torments nor death, because I desire to go quickly to God. Thereupon the emperor condemned him to be torn to pieces by wild beasts in Rome. Saint Ignatius blessed God, who had so honored him, binding him in the same chains as Paul, His apostle. When his people wept, he told them to place their hope in the sovereign Pastor, who never abandons His flock. On passing through the city of Smyrna, he exhorted the faithful, who were grieved at his fate, to remain true to Christ until death, and he gave some of them who were going to Rome a letter for the Christians of the capital of the Christian world. This letter is still extant. He writes: I fear your charity, I fear you have an affection too human for me. You might prevent me from dying, but by so doing, you would oppose my happiness. Suffer me to be immolated while the altar is ready; give thanks to God... If when I arrive among you I should have the weakness to seem to have other sentiments, do not believe me; believe only what I am writing to you now. This letter of Saint Ignatius has encouraged all generations of Christians in their combats. He journeyed to Rome, guarded by soldiers, and with no fear but of losing the martyr's crown. Three of his disciples, who accompanied him and were eyewitnesses of the spectacle, wrote the acts of his martyrdom: His face shining with joy, he reassured them as the lions were released, saying: I am the wheat of Christ, I will be ground by the teeth of the beasts and made into flour to be a good bread for my Lord Jesus Christ! He was devoured by lions in the Roman amphitheater. The wild beasts left nothing of his body except a few bones, which were reverently treasured at Antioch until their removal in the year 637 to the Church of Saint Clement in Rome. After the martyr's death, several Christians saw him in vision, in prayer to Christ, and interceding for them.

Reflection. Ask Saint Ignatius to obtain for you the grace of profiting by all you have to suffer, and rejoicing in it as a means of likeness to your crucified Redeemer.

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Text Box: Reading 1 	               ROM 1:16-25


Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, "The one who is righteous by faith will live."

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen. 



Responsorial Psalm           19:2-3, 4-5



R. (2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Alleluia HEB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel			   LK 11:37-41



After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, "Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you."

 Prayer  for All Souls

Text Box: Meditation:		  
"I am not ashamed of the gospel." –Romans 1:16

I wonder if deep down we don't proclaim the Good News more fervently because we are embarrassed that the guilty receive unmerited mercy. The rapist, terrorist, abortionist, murderer, and other wrongdoers confess their sins (Ps 32:5), repent and sin no more (Jn 8:11), accept and live their Baptism, and their sins are simply forgiven. They receive eternal life in heaven (see Lk 23:42-43). They seem to not receive the punishment due to their sins. "There is no condemnation now for those who are in Jesus Christ" (Rm 8:1). To law-abiding citizens, this can look unfair.

Our secular society demands justice and punishment. Simply browse the comments in any social media outlet when a grave act of injustice occurs. Victims cry out for healing and restitution. Lawyers press for damages, and then some. Bystanders scream for punishment, even before a criminal trial.

The gospel of Christ (Rm 1:16) proclaims that Jesus is our Justice (1 Cor 1:30). Accordingly, He handles all the demands of justice for all parties. The gospel also proclaims that "God is rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4), and that God repays any damages that have occurred (see Jl 2:25). Jesus receives the punishment in place of sinners and pours out mercy on both sinner and victim.

Instead of taking on Jesus' job of figuring out punishments and restorations, our role is to fall on our knees before Jesus and beg for mercy and justice. Humanity is unable to do the job which belongs properly to the Lord, for His ways are far beyond our ways (Is 55:8-9). The conflicting demands of mercy and justice are no problem for Jesus, Who is Mercy and Justice incarnate.

PRAYER: 	Father, remove from my heart and mind any embarrassment that might exist about Your lavish mercy toward sinners.

PROMISE: 	"If you give what you have as alms, all will be wiped clean for you." –Lk 11:41

PRAISE: 	St. Ignatius worked for Christian unity by proclaiming the Eucharist.

 

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Text Box: The Bible in one year:  SEPTEMBER


01 2 Chron 28–29, Hos 6, 1 Cor 4–5, Ps 103:17–22
02 2 Chron 30–31, Hos 7–8, 1 Cor 6, Ps 104:1–8
03 2 Chron 32–33, Hos 9, 1 Cor 7:1–20, Ps 104:9–15
04 2 Chron 34, Hos 10, 1 Cor 7:21–40, Ps 104:16–22
05 2 Chron 35–36, Hos 11–12, 1 Cor 8, Ps 104:23–29
06 Ezra 1:1–2:41, Hos 13–14, 1 Cor 9, Ps 104:30–35
07 Ezra 2:42–3:13, Joel 1, 1 Cor 10, Ps 105:1–8
08 Ezra 4–6, Joel 2:1–15, 1 Cor 11:1–16, Ps 105:9–15
09 Ezra 7, Joel 2:16–32, 1 Cor 11:17–34, Ps 105:16–22
10 Ezra 8–9, Joel 3, 1 Cor 12, Ps 105:23–29
11 Ezra 10, Amos 1, 1 Cor 13, Ps 105:30–36
12 Neh 1–3, Amos 2–3, 1 Cor 14:1–25, Ps 105:37–45
13 Neh 4–5, Amos 4, 1 Cor 14:26–40, Ps 106:1–5
14 Neh 6:1–7:36, Amos 5, 1 Cor 15:1–29, Ps 106:6–12
15 Neh 7:37–8:18, Amos 6, 1 Cor 15:30–58, Ps 106:13–20
16 Neh 9, Amos 7, 1 Cor 16, Ps 106:21–27
17 Neh 10, Amos 8–9, 2 Cor 1:1–12, Ps 106:28–34
18 Neh 11–12, Obad, 2 Cor 1:13–2:17, Ps 106:35–41
19 Neh 13, Jonah 1, 2 Cor 3, Ps 106:42–48
20 Tobit 1–3, Jonah 2–3, 2 Cor 4, Ps 107:1–7
21 Tobit 4–5, Jonah 4, 2 Cor 5, Ps 107:8–14
22 Tobit 6–8, Micah 1–2, 2 Cor 6, Ps 107:15–21
23 Tobit 9–11, Micah 3–4, 2 Cor 7:1–8:11, Ps 107:22–28
24 Tobit 12–14, Micah 5, 2 Cor 8:12–9:15, Ps 107:29–35
25 Jdth 1–2, Micah 6, 2 Cor 10, Ps 107:36–43
26 Jdth 3–5, Micah 7, 2 Cor 11:1–19, Ps 108:title–5
27 Jdth 6–7, Nah 1–2, 2 Cor 11:20–33, Ps 108:6–13
28 Jdth 8, Nah 3, 2 Cor 12–13, Ps 109:title–5
29 Jdth 9–11, Hab 1, Gal 1, Ps 109:6–12
30 Jdth 12–13, Hab 2, Gal 2, Ps 109:13–19

 

Text Box:   ASHAMED OF MERCY?

Today’s Bible Readings

Latin Rite                            1st Reading        ROM 1:16-25        Responsorial Psalm  19:2-3, 4-5                                      2nd Reading                                                                                Gospel             LK 11:37-41

Syro-Malabar Rite              1st Reading    GAL 6:11-18                         Gospel             LK 4:38-44

Syro-Malankara Rite         1st Reading    HEB 12:1-3                           Gospel             LK 1:1-4

 

Volume 97, Tuesday, October  17, 2017.

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Prayer of St. Gertrude the great dictated by Our Lady to release 1,000 Souls from Purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extend to include living sinners which would alleviate the indebtedness accrued to them during their lives.

“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.”

St. Gertrude the Great was born in Germany in 1263. She was a Benedictine Nun, and meditated on the Passion of Christ, which many times brought floods of tears to her eyes. She did many penances, and Our Lady appeared to her many times. Her holy Soul passed away in 1334. November 16 is her Feast Day.

Text Box: Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

St. Luke

 

St. Ignatius of Antioch