Thought for the Day – 18 October – The Feast of St Luke the Evangelist
According to a pious tradition, Luke is thought to have painted the image of Mary, the Virgin Mother. But the real portrait that Luke draws of Jesus’ Mother is the one that emerges from the pages of his work: in scenes that have become familiar to the People of God, he draws an eloquent image of the Virgin. The Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple, life in the home of Nazareth, Jesus’ discussion with the doctors and his being lost and Pentecost have provided abundant material down the centuries for the ever new creations of painters, sculptors, poets and musicians.
What is most important however is to discover that, through pictures of Marian life, Luke introduces us to Mary’s interior life, helping us at the same time to understand her unique role in salvation history.
Mary is the one who says fiat, a personal and total “yes” to God’s invitation, calling herself the “handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1: 38). This attitude of total assent to God and unconditional acceptance of his Word represents the highest model of faith, the anticipation of the Church as the community of believers.
The life of faith grows and develops in Mary through sapiential meditation on the words and events of Christ’s life (cf. Lk 2: 19, 51). She “ponders in her heart” to understand the deep meaning of his words, in order to assimilate it and share it with others.
The Magnificat hymn (cf. Lk 1: 46-55) shows another important aspect of Mary’s “spirituality”: she embodies the figure of the poor person, capable of putting all her trust in God, who casts down the mighty from their thrones and raises up the lowly.
Luke also describes the figure of Mary in the early Church, showing that she is present in the Upper Room as they await the Holy Spirit: “All these [the 11 Apostles] with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1: 14).
The group gathered in the Upper Room forms the original nucleus of the Church. Within it Mary carries out a double role: on the one hand, she intercedes for the birth of the Church through the Holy Spirit; on the other, she shares her experience of Jesus with the newborn Church. (St John Paul on the Feast of St Luke, Padua 2000 at the Shrine of St Luke)
Luke wrote as a Gentile for Gentile Christians. His Gospel and Acts of the Apostles reveal his expertise in classic Greek style as well as his knowledge of Jewish sources. There is a warmth to Luke’s writing that sets it apart from that of the other synoptic Gospels and yet it beautifully complements those works. The treasure of the Scriptures is a true gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church and the Marian writings of St Luke are a great treasure to us all!
St Luke, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
St John Paul, pray for us.