Next Tuesday, 18th October, we keep the Feastday of St. Luke (d. first century). Practically all the information we have about him comes from the New Testament. A Greek speaker, it is believed Luke was a native of Antioch and a doctor by training (cf. Col 4: 14). He accompanied St. Paul on his second missionary journey and stayed on in Philippi to lead the church there, until about 57 A.D., when he rejoined Paul on his third missionary journey. He was with Paul during the shipwreck on Malta and under house arrest in Rome and after Paul’s death is traditionally believed to have gone back to Antioch to lead the Christian community there until his death as an old man. He is the author of the third Gospel as well as the Acts of the Apostles. The latter is the main source of information about the early Church but in both this and his gospel, he proves to be a careful and observant historian. He frequently anchors his narrative in secular history, referring to events external to the biblical events and recent archaeology confirms the historicity of his accounts. The Gospel of Luke is notable for its emphasis on the compassion of Jesus, especially manifested towards those on the fringes of Jewish society: women, the poor, lepers, Samaritans and Gentiles. Being a Greek himself, he is careful to emphasise the universality of Christ’s sacrifice, whereas Matthew is more concerned with portraying Jesus as the promised Jewish Messiah. It is possible that Luke visited Our Lady in Jerusalem before writing his gospel, dated about 70 AD. Certainly, his version of the Christmas story is told sensitively and with much detail from the point of view of the Blessed Virgin. Indeed, he is accredited with making several icons of Mary. The book of Acts was written in Rome, perhaps during Paul’s imprisonment or shortly after his death, and tells in specific detail the growth of the early Church under the influence of the Holy Spirit.