St. Luke

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Luke. St. Luke was a Gentile, born as a slave in Antioch, Syria. He worked for a family helping them in their household, and because he was very bright, they sent him to learn about medicine; in this way they would have a medical doctor in their house to help them. And so he became a doctor.
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We don’t know the circumstances, but he would become a disciple of Jesus Christ. One tradition is, that he was one of the 72 disciples sent out by Christ to preach. That is why it is the gospel for today’s Mass, about the 72.
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St. Luke certainly accompanied St. Paul on his missionary journeys. St. Paul says in the reading today, that when so many had abandoned him, Luke was still there, so he was a trusted friend. Of all the writers of the New testament, we are pretty sure that all were Catholic priests – except St. Luke – him we don’t know. He wrote the Gospel of Luke, and also Acts of the Apostles. He is the only one to write so much about the Blessed Virgin, including details about the conversation with angel Gabriel and other details, even about what Mary was thinking.
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How did he get this information? No doubt from Mary herself. We know that St. Paul and St. Luke spent a lot of time around Ephesus. Mary lived there, in Ephesus, you can see her house. And so St. Luke must have visited the Blessed Virgin often, and this is the source of his information.
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Finally, we know that he was an expert artist. This is the case, because he is the only person we know who painted a picture of the Blessed Virgin, known as the Hodegetria. In the fifth century, the Empress of Theodosius II brought this painting of the Virgin to the city of Constantinople where it was revered for years. But in 1453, the invading Turkish Muslims sacked the city. They destroyed monasteries and churches – the most beautiful art in the Christian world, and at this time, St. Luke’s painting of Mary disappeared.
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Escaping Christian artists however, remembered that painting, and they set about creating copies as best they could. Different artists remembered it differently. The Black Madonna of Częstochowa is thought to be one of these copies. Also, many believe that Our Mother of Perpetual Help is another copy of the Hodegetria of St. Luke.
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St. Luke is the patron saint of doctors, of artists, of bookbinders, and bachelors.

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