Feast of St.Luke, Evangelist
2 Timothy 4:10-17b
This event happened to me many years ago. I was working as a school chaplain in Brisbane, Qld. One day, I was driving to one of the schools where I was ministering. It was a busy Friday morning, and the traffic was heavy. I was going along one of the main routes in Brisbane. It was at that time two lanes both ways, but the road wasn’t quite wide enough, so the two lanes were quite tight.
As I rounded a bend in the road, I noticed what I thought was a bundle of old clothes in the gutter. As I drove past, I realized there was a man in those old clothes. I went a little bit further to where I could safely turn off the road, parked the car on the sidewalk, and ran back to the man. The cars continued to whiz past, with no apparent concern for the gentleman. As I arrived there, another man arrived to help. He was an Indigenous man who had been sleeping in the park across the road. He had dodged the traffic to render what assistance he could. He stood next to the man as a warning to the other cars, while I knocked on one of the doors of the residents so we could call an ambulance. I went back outside and waited with the Indigenous man until the paramedics arrived. As they were assisting the man, I then made my way to school.
I’m not sure how many people drove past, probably hundreds, but a homeless man was the one who came to his help.
An outsider. A man who lived in the shadows. A man who knew what it was like to not belong. To not have a place
Today we celebrate the feat of St Luke. It is hard to be completely sure of his story, but he too, it seemed, was an outsider.
He was not an apostle. Unlike the apostles, he was educated. By tradition, a physician. He used medical terms in the Gospel that appear nowhere else in the Bible. He was familiar with the Greek world, not the Hebrew world. He was probably a Hellenistic Jew, and maybe even a Gentile. He was not one of “the chosen.” Yet he wrote more of the New Testament than any other author.
And as we hear in the first reading, he was faithful to the last. Says St Paul, “Only Luke is with me.”
He knew what it was like to be an outsider. And he lived and wrote to invite them in.
He brings us the beautiful story of the Good Samaritan. The lost coin. The Prodigal Son.
Outsiders who became insiders to the love and goodness of our kind and gentle God.
Luke knew what it was like to be an outsider and to be welcomed in. To be a living witness to those who live in the shadows.
He says to all the message of Jesus: The Kingdom of God is close to you.
Peter Gardiner is a Passionist priest, presently teaching English to Passionist students in Vietnam.