Although little is known with certainty about Lukes life, he was hailed by St. Paul as "my dear friend, Luke the doctor" (Col. 4, 14). Lukes writings, nearly two millennia after their publication, still offer much spiritual food for the disciples of Christ. The Evangelists contribution to the growth of the early Church, mainly by way of his two accounts--the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles--is incontestable.
The Gospel According to St. Luke is used during "cycle C" of the third-year rotation of Sunday scripture readings. Cycle C begins November 30, the First Sunday of Advent. St. Luke, the author of the third Gospel is annually commemorated by the Church on October 18.
It is significant that St. Lukes Gospel will be read during 1998, the second year of the preparatory phase leading to the Jubilee of the Year 2000. In his 1994 apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (As the Third Millennium Draws Near), Pope John Paul II wrote that next year "will be dedicated in a particular way to the Holy Spirit and to his sanctifying presence within the community of Christs disciples" (44).
The third person of the Trinity occupies a crucial position throughout Lukes 24 chapters. In fact, the evangelist opens and closes his inspired testimony with references to the paraclete: St. Gabriel the archangel informing the chaste maiden of Nazareth that "the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (1, 35), thereby effecting the Incarnation; and Jesus himself asserting that "I will send down upon you the promise (i.e., the Consoler) of my Father" (24, 49), completing the long-awaited and much-needed gift benefiting the Eleven as they witnessed to the Savior and his very words.
In the New American Bibles introduction to St. Lukes Gospel, the translation used in the majority of U.S. parishes, the claim is made that "no other evangelist has placed such emphasis on the prophetic word of Jesus; no other is so optimistic over the favorable response it is destined to receive." Again, Luke is convinced of the reality of the powerful workings of the Advocate"the souls most welcome guest."
Jesus conveyed in all his words and deeds the Holy Spirit. That same Holy Spirit brings about "the favorable response" on the part of those who not only listen to Gods sacred Word but also allow it to move them to an increase in authentic holiness.
No wonder St. Luke has been saluted for centuries as the "mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit." He spared no effort in communicatingunder inspiration of the Holy Spiritthe inestimable role which "the Lord and Giver of Life" has played in redemption. Thanks to this evangelist, we have a better appreciation of the Holy Spirit and his continual role in the Church.
Undoubtedly St. Lukes fervent wish is that followers of the Messiah would open wide souls so that the Holy Spirit could sway them his unsurpassed grace. The Evangelists feast provides us with a golden opportunity to meditate how the Holy Spiritas is evident in the and the Acts of the Apostlesinspired those of old to cling to the Master and how today, perched on threshold of the Christian millennium, we also, are encouraged to accept all that the Spirit does for us on our challenging pilgrimage to salvation.