Today we celebrate Saint Luke. A traveling companion of Saint Paul, and the evangelist who wrote a gospel, and its “sequel”, the Acts of the Apostles. While Saint Paul wrote more books, it is Luke who wrote the most words. And what powerful words they are.
Saint Luke writes the words that change lives. Over and over he recounts how God surprises. It is in Luke’s gospel we here about the unlikely hero that is the Good Samaritan. It is in the Acts of the Apostles that we see there is simply no resisting the Spirit of God.
In his gospel, Luke writes to the poor. They have need of hope and an awareness that somehow, despite their poverty, there is a higher purpose in life. Enter Jesus. Luke sees in Jesus the one who gives hope to the hopeless, and challenges the blessed to remember that blessings are meant to be shared.
It is Luke who writes in such a beautiful way of the powerful work of the Spirit at Pentecost, and it is Luke who writes of the beautiful yet challenging conversion of the apostle Paul and its effect on the Christian community. In all that Luke does and writes, he reminds us of the ways in which God is omnipresent, perhaps most of all in those events that are most challenging.
Every time we celebrate an evangelist, like Saint Luke, I am reminded of the phrase that our lives, each one of us, might be the only gospel some people might ever hear. Or the oft quoted phrase attributed to Saint Francis. “Preach always. When necessary, use words.”
And so how is it that we will model a life of the gospel? Is not the purpose of the gospel to change hearts and lives? Were not the words written so that people might come to meet Jesus, and to know the marvelous actions Jesus stands ready to do even now?
What is required, it seems to me, is for us to work to make our witness authentic as those committed to Jesus, to demonstrate that not only is it possible, but is is so life giving it becomes attractive.