If Saint Luke had not written, we would not know…
- Anything about the Visitation. The Canticle of Zechariah. The Magnificat.
- Anything about the shepherds on Christmas Eve. Which means we wouldn’t have the Gloria, which we sing at every Sunday Mass and feast day.
- Anything about the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The Canticle of Simeon, “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace…”
- Anything about Mary and Joseph finding Jesus in the Temple at age twelve. In other words, without St. Luke’s gospel, we simply wouldn’t have the Holy Rosary, as we know it.
- We wouldn’t know anything about the healing of the ten lepers, which we heard about at Mass this past Sunday. Or anything about the raising of the widow of Nain’s son from the dead. Or about a bunch of other miracles Jesus did.
- We wouldn’t know that contemplative Mary had chosen the better part than busy Martha.
- We wouldn’t know the parable of the Good Samaritan. Or the parable of the Prodigal Son. Or a bunch of other parables.
- We wouldn’t know that Jesus spoke to Moses and Elijah about the Paschal Mystery, during the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor.
- We wouldn’t know that the women of Jerusalem wept beside the Way of the Cross.
- Or about the repentant criminal beside Jesus.
- Or that Jesus cried out, “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit,” before He died.
- Or about the Lord appearing on Easter Sunday to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
I’ll stop at twelve, in honor of the twelve Apostles. But there are, in fact, many other details of the life of the Savior—details that we know, that we take for granted that we know—details which we have learned one way, and only one way. Because St. Luke wrote them down for us.
(And we’re not even getting into the fact that we know about Pentecost, and St. Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, and St. Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin, and the first Christian martyrdoms, and St. Paul’s conversion, and St. Paul’s sermon in Athens, and the Council of Jerusalem, and St. Paul’s heroic deeds and explanation of his life–and everything else written in the Acts of the Apostles—we know all that, only because St. Luke wrote it down for us.)
The four holy Evangelists get a unique place of honor in the artwork of many of the most beautiful churches on earth. Everyone know this? The four evangelists hold up the roof and dome of the church, so to speak. Their symbols adorn the tops of the four central columns of traditional cruciform churches.
A unique place of honor. They deserve it. St. Luke deserves it.