Based on word counts in the New American Bible, St. Luke wrote 27.5% of the NT, and that is why I chose him as confirmation saint in 2011. In a Bible handy at the moment, the Gospel of Luke is 45 pages, and it took just 3 minutes to read one page aloud. So, reading silently, it should take well under two hours to read the whole book. It could be read during the non-action parts of a three hour televised football game, but that may not be the best environment for spiritual reflection.
Every Wednesday in Morning Prayer, we read from St. Luke’s Gospel the Benedictus, the prayer of Zechariah, father of newly born John (the Baptist) who would fulfill Isaiah’s prophesy of one sent to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
The Benedictus is found only in the Gospel of Luke. Here are other treasures sharing that distinction:
- Announcement of John’s upcoming birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth
- Annunciation of Jesus to Mary
- Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth during which John “leaped in her womb.”
- The “Magnificat.” Mary’s prayer when she visited Elizabeth.
- Birth and naming of John and the “Benedictus.”
- Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem with shepherds watching their flocks
- Circumcision of Jesus
- Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the “Nunc Dimittis,” the prayer of Simeon
- Jesus left behind in the Temple
- Rejection in his home town synagogue
- The sending out of the seventy
- Parable of the Good Samaritan
- Parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son
In St. Luke’s account, the ministry of Jesus seems to have been logical and well planned, much like the effort of a coach building a sports team, and St. Luke promises us an “orderly account” based on careful investigation and eye witness testimony. The ministry of Jesus began in Luke’s account with the call of Peter, James, and John, proceeded with training and teaching and coaching of the twelve and then of the seventy sent out two by two, and ended with sending us all to proclaim repentance and forgiveness. Now the training is up to The Church, the Body of Christ. Here are seven steps in that progression.
The comments about St. Luke and his Gospel inspired discussion among the group about our individual roles in evangelism, and we were all encouraged to explore our spiritual gifts and to ask, “What is God calling me to do?”
Tom Gregory encouraged the members to take a look at the website of a Catholic evangelistic group. You can find it HERE.
And, if you decide to read the Gospel, here is a handy list of the 206 events or scenes in it.