Monday, October 19, 2009

St. Luke

ALMIGHTY God, who didst inspire thy servant Saint Luke the Physician, to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son; Manifest in thy Church the like power and love, to the healing of our bodies and our souls; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Luke,

Simone Martini
(c. 1284-1344)

St. Luke's Day is October 18, bumped forward this year from Sunday.

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.

Read it all here.

A year or so after we were married Susy and I moved to Auburn, California, and I began teaching at a small high school in the farmland between Sacramento and Marysville. While we lived in Auburn we attended St. Luke's Church,

and it was with the warm and generous and loving support of the good people of St. Luke's that I was sponsored for ordination and sent on to seminary. It was at St. Luke's that I preached my first sermon and learned, as Boatboy, how to load and swing a thurible. (Skills that have long-since atrophied, I'm afraid.) For several years Susy and I coordinated the parish Youth Group and the summertime Vacation Bible School. The rector of St. Luke's, our dear friend the late Rev. Tom Jansen, preached at my ordination to the priesthood. We continue to correspond with a number of good friends from that time of our lives, and we continue indeed to remember them all in our prayers, with thanksgiving.

St. Luke's, Auburn, California


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