Born: early First century
FEast: Oct. 18th
artists, writers, physicians and surgeons, livestock farmers
Luke's origin and identity will likely always be a bit of a mystery. Tradition holds, however, that he was possibly the only New Testament author that was not Jewish first - he was likely born a Greek Gentile in Syria. We can guess this based on wording that seems to exclude him from the Jewish group, and because of how many times in his Gospel he mentions times in which Jesus helped or praised Gentiles. We do not even find some of those stories in the other Gospels.
Luke is mentioned by St. Paul as a physician, and it is very possible that this was his trade not by choice, but because he could have been born an enslaved person and trained in medicine to aid the dominant family.
Very likely, he never knew Jesus, but he spoke to many people who did, and became a companion on St. Paul on his journeys. He was even the only one to remain for the duration of Paul's final imprisonment.
Luke's Gospel is also characterized as the most joyful of the Gospels. Due to the wording he chooses and the stories he includes, it is also known as the Gospel of the oppressed - women, the sick, the poor, and foreigners are all shown to be more important to Jesus in his Gospel than the others. He focuses on mercy and salvation, as well as the importance of the Holy Spirit.
He also likely wrote the book of the Acts of the Apostles. His highly educated, precise, and forgiving tone is the same in both books. No one can be sure how Luke died, but tradition holds that he was martyred after what was likely a long life, either in Greece or what is now France.
Luke's symbol is an ox or bull because they are animals traditionally used for sacrifice, and Luke greatly stressed Jesus' sacrifice for the world. He is also traditionally believed to have painted the first icons - though there are not many facts to prove it.
Remind us that artists and creators in this world are so necessary. All of us are called & tasked to share in God’s continual creation. Whether it is in the form of the arts, ideas, work, families, or leadership, we must never cease to thank God for our gifts and better the world by using them.
To incorporate Luke's main skills and professions, I included a pen, a brush, and a paint cloth as well as a professional shirt for his physician's job. I wanted his expression to be a kind one because of his Gospel's clear concern for the oppressed populations that Jesus came to serve. His eyes are a clear blue to symbolize a deeper sight that he had to allow him to find such love and compassion.