St Luke

Evangelist (entered heaven in the first century)

Dear Kasi,

I always think of you on today’s Feast.  I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s your mother’s fault.  We are only distant cousins (so your calling me “uncle” is a bit rhetorical), but we used to spend a lot of time together at a common relative’s farm during the summer.  Those were enjoyable days, and not only because of summer’s undeniable charms. What made us look forward to them especially was, well, your mother. She was like sunlight, brightening up every situation, warming up every sadness.  Just being around her was a delight. She never thought of herself, and always thought of everyone else. I was so sad to hear when she passed away – was it three years ago now?

But I think of you today, because today’s Saint, Luke, is held to have known very well a woman who your mother always held in the highest esteem: the Blessed Virgin Mary.  St Luke was a medical doctor, a writer, and an artist (probably from Greece, maybe from Antioch in Turkey), so he had an avid mind and a sensitive heart. God set him aside as one of the four Evangelists, the only four people in the history of the world chosen to record (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) the life and words of Jesus Christ, God become man.  He was also entrusted with giving us the inspired narration of the very first days of the Church. His Gospel and his “appendix” to the Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, almost form a complete picture of Christian revelation. In their pages, you will find the person of Jesus Christ and the living faith of the Church masterfully described. If you take some time to dip into them every day, it will help you keep your faith fresh (it will help even more if you dip into them while making a visit to our Lord himself in the Blessed Sacrament – nothing like the Real Thing to counteract vapid ideologies like the ones you mention in the note).

One particularly noteworthy characteristic of his Gospel is the infancy narratives.  No other Gospel writer gives us such a robust picture of the incarnation and birth of our Savior.  The picturesque Christmas stories that we are so familiar with are almost all taken from Luke’s Gospel.  Now, have you ever thought about where he got those stories? St Joseph wasn’t around when Luke became a Christian, and Jesus had already ascended… It had to have been Mary herself.  Imagine those conversations… And I have always thought that the emphasis on mercy in Luke’s Gospel may have come from Mary’s influence as well (Luke alone includes the parables of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Lost Coin…).  

Mercy, humility, gentleness… The power of these unpopular virtues were amply evidenced the Blessed Virgin, and faithfully exemplified by your mother all through her brief but brilliant life.  Need I say that I hope and pray you have now decided to carry on the torch?

Your devoted uncle, Eddy

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