Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Luke for Lent: 1:1-4

Word of God (Douay-Rheims-Challoner):

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us; According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word: It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed. 

Word of Man:

Luke sets out with a purpose. He writes to "Theophilus" which is sometimes said to be a real person, other times said to be symbolic of all people. This is the first of his two books. His gospel tells of the life of Christ; whereas the sequel tells Christ's ascension and the beginnings of the church.

Regardless of who Theolphilus is, the book is written to everyone. Luke was not the first gospel writer, for he was inspired by others to research the life of Christ and write a gospel. Unlike Matthew and John, he was not an eyewitness. According to some traditions, he was the friend and scribe of Paul, who was not an eyewitness to the events.

So whence comes Luke's authority? If Luke was the companion of Paul, he bears Paul's authority, which is self-evident in his acceptance by the community. It also comes from his research. The Blessed Virgin was entrusted to John by Christ on the cross, but it is Luke who gives us the details of lives of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, as well as Zachary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist. It is reasonable to assume that Luke was also close to our Lord's family and, in a sense, he became the family's biographer.

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