St. Luke The Evangelist – Oct. 18th

Luke_painting the Virgin_GOSSAERT, Jan (Mabuse)

“St. Luke was a physician of Antioch, who, as appeareth from his writings, knew the Greek language. He was a follower of the Apostle Paul, and his fellow traveller in all his wanderings. He wrote a Gospel, whereof the same Paul saith We have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the Churches 2 Cor. viii. 18. Of him, he writeth unto the Colossians, iv. 14: Luke, the beloved physician, greeteth you. And again, unto Timothy, II. iv. 11: Only Luke is with me. He also published another excellent book entitled The Acts of the Apostles, wherein the history is brought down to Paul’s two years sojourn at Rome, that is to say, until the fourth year of Nero, from which we gather that it was at Rome that the said book was composed.

The silence of Luke is one of the reasons why we reckon among Apocryphal books The Acts of Paul and Thecla, and the whole story about the baptism of Leo. For why should the fellow traveller of the Apostle, who knew other things, be ignorant only of this? At the same time there is against these documents the statement of Tertullian, almost a contemporary writer, that the Apostle John convicted a certain Priest in Asia, who was a great admirer of the Apostle Paul, of having written them, and that the said Priest owned that he had been induced to compose them through his admiration for Paul, and that he was deposed in consequence. There are some persons who suspect that when Paul in his Epistles useth the phrase, According to my Gospel Rom. ii. 16, Tim. ii. 8, he meaneth the Gospel written by Luke.

However, Luke learned his Gospel not from the Apostle Paul only, who had not companied with the Lord in the flesh, but also from other Apostles, as himself declareth at the beginning of his work, where he saith They delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, i. 2. According to what he had heard, therefore, did he write his Gospel. As to the Acts of the Apostles, he composed them from his own personal knowledge. He was never married. He lived eighty-four years. He is buried at Constantinople, whither his bones were brought from Achaia in the twentieth year of Constantine, together with the relics of the Apostle Andrew.”  1960 Roman Breviary