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Saint of the Day for 18 October: St Luke

St. Luke, the evangelist physician: his life, his work and his influence on Christianity


St Luke




1st century, Antioch of Syria


18 October 93, Thebes


18 October


2004 edition


Glorious St. Luke, who, in order to extend to the whole world until the end of the ages the divine science of health, you recorded in a special book, not only the teachings and deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also the most marvellous deeds of his Apostles for the foundation of the Church; obtain for us all the grace to conform our lives always to those most holy documents which by the special impulse of the Holy Spirit, and under his dictation, you have given to all peoples in your divine books.

Patron Saint of

Impruneta, Castel Goffredo, Capena, San Luca, Comelico Superiore, Praiano, Motta d’Affermo

Protector of

Artists, surgeons, doctors, notaries, painters, sculptors

Roman Martyrology

Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist, who, according to tradition, was born in Antioch of a pagan family and was a doctor by profession, converted to faith in Christ. He became a dear companion of Saint Paul the Apostle, carefully arranged in the Gospel all the works and teachings of Jesus, becoming scribe of the gentleness of Christ, and narrated in the Acts of the Apostles the beginnings of the life of the Church up to Paul’s first stay in Rome.


The Saint and Mission

Saint Luke, an evangelist and doctor by profession, is unique in the New Testament. His double work, consisting of the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, offers a profound and detailed vision of Christ’s mission and the subsequent mission of the Church. His writing reveals us not only a narrator of events, but a profound interpreter of the missionary significance of these events.

In his Gospel, Luke emphasises with particular intensity the universal call to salvation. Jesus did not come only for the Jewish people, but for everyone. Christ’s mission, as described by Luke, is imbued with a love that transcends borders and barriers. Luke emphasises how Jesus reaches out to the poor, the marginalised, and sinners, offering everyone the possibility of a transformed life. This universal invitation to conversion and communion with God is the beating heart of the Lucan message.

The Acts of the Apostles, a natural continuation of his Gospel, trace the journey of the early Church in carrying the message of Christ ‘to the ends of the earth’. Luke, through the deeds of the apostles, especially Peter and Paul, shows how the mission begun by Christ continues through his Church. The apostles, moved by the Holy Spirit, become true missionaries, bearers of the Gospel to different peoples and cultures, facing challenges and persecutions.

What particularly stands out in the Lucan narrative is the importance of the Holy Spirit in mission. It is not a purely human work, but a divine one. The Spirit guides, inspires, strengthens and opens new paths. It is the Spirit who makes the mission fruitful, who enables the disciples to overcome obstacles, and who prompts conversions.

St Luke also places great emphasis on prayer as the driving force behind the mission. Whether in the desert solitudes where Jesus withdraws to pray, in the nights spent in prayer before crucial decisions, or in the community praying together awaiting the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost, prayer emerges as the vital link with God, the source of missionary energy.

St Luke, through his scriptures, offers us a profound reflection on the nature of mission. It is not simply a task or a duty, but a vocation, an invitation to enter into the movement of love that flows from the heart of God to humanity. This mission is not reserved for a select few, but is the task of every believer. Through the words and stories of Luke, we are called to recognise this missionary vocation and to respond with open and generous hearts.

The Saint and Mercy

St Luke is deeply connected to the theme of mercy. His narrative not only provides a rich tapestry of Christ’s works and teachings, but also highlights Jesus’ tenderness and compassion in a special way, making his Gospel a unique testimony of God’s merciful love for humanity.

Unlike the other evangelists, Luke gives great space to the stories of marginalised people, sinners, women and outsiders, emphasising Jesus’ care and concern for those who were often marginalised or neglected in the society of his time. For example, it is only in the Gospel of Luke that we find the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story that overturns the cultural and religious expectations of the time and emphasises the radical concept that true closeness to one’s neighbour is manifested through unexpected acts of mercy.

Again, it is in Luke’s Gospel that we read the moving story of the prodigal son. This parable, told by Jesus, not only highlights the profound repentance of the rebellious son, but above all the father’s unconditional love and overwhelming joy in welcoming back his lost son. The figure of the father in this story is a reflection of God’s merciful heart, always ready to forgive and welcome back those who return to Him.

Luke also has a special way of presenting Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Through the Magnificat, Luke shows us a Mary who rejoices in God’s mercy, who “looked upon the humility of his handmaid” and “did great things” for her. This praise of Mary to the merciful Lord lays the foundation for many of Jesus’ compassionate interactions that Luke will document in his Gospel.

Moreover, the Lucan vision of mercy is not confined to his Gospel alone. In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke recounts how Christ’s mercy is brought forth through the work of the Holy Spirit in the nascent Church. Stories of conversion, such as that of Saul of Tarsus, testify to the transforming power of God’s mercy in the lives of individuals who, once enemies of the Gospel, become its ardent evangelisers.

St Luke, through his narrative style and the stories he chooses to tell, emphasises in a special way the mercy of God manifested in Christ. His Gospel and Acts remind us that at the heart of the Christian message is a God who loves, forgives and renews, a God whose mercy knows no bounds and who longs to be in relationship with every single person.


The Evangelist St. Luke was born in Antioch of Syria to pagan parents. He learned medical science and, in order to perfect his knowledge, undertook several journeys to Greece and Egypt. He then went to Troas to practise his profession there: but here the Lord was waiting for him for another, greater mission. When the Apostle Paul had passed that way to preach the Holy Gospel, Luke, conquered by the truth, wished to follow him in the sacred ministry and…


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