This Friday the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Luke, Apostle and Martyr of the Church. Luke is the author of the gospel bearing his name and the Acts of the Apostles, which lays out the early days of the Church after the death of Christ, and, including St. Paul’s missionary journeys. Of course, all the books of the Bible are inspired by God, giving the author of each gospel, letter or book God’s seal of truth. This makes the Bible formative and definitive for the Christian.
The four Gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are illustrations of the life of Jesus Christ. Looked at from several angles, they could be referred to as “The Faces of Christ”! Each of the Gospels shows the life of the Church at a particular time in history, and, from the view of the Christian community at that time. For example, Luke’s Gospel is thought to be an effort at inclusion (not as the political or current culture advocate). Luke, in the Holy Spirit, addresses believers and nonbelievers by demonstrating God’s love as expressed in those at the margins of society. Matthew’s Gospel looks at life for Christians through the eyes of formal church life and practice. Mark’s Gospel portrays the early Church in a very simple, straightforward way (just the facts, ma’am). John’s Gospel is very prayerful—the prayers of Jesus are elucidated, and aim the communities’ eyes toward Heaven. (Fancy way: A High Christology). And, the various other books of the New Testament shed light on various Christian behavior and conduct, addressed to specific groups, but, as applicable today as then.
The celebration of the lives of these apostles, saints and early martyrs helps to inform, form, and deepen our love for God and to put into proper conduct and focus both our life and our goal: Heaven! All this helps us to realize that we are built on a foundation of Faith and Morals, where Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone and the saints and martyrs are the building blocks of a Church started by Christ, protected by the Holy Spirit, and endures to this day, despite the ups and downs over the centuries.
Be edified by these teachings and truths. When doubts assail, temptations distract, or sin cuts us off from God, remember that we can always gain solace, comfort and confidence by reading and prayer over “The Faces of Christ”!