Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist

I knew, of course, that St. Luke is supposed to have been a physician. I didn't know this bit about the medical vocabulary:

Luke was a physician. He used a medical vocabulary instinctively. In the incident where the boy is said to be "thrown down" (English text) by his affliction, the Greek word Luke uses was the current medical term for convulsions. In the incident where the distraught father cries to Jesus, "Look upon my son!", the word Luke uses for "look upon" is the current medical term used of a physician seeing a patient. Like most physicians Luke was understandably defensive of the medical profession. When the menorrhagic woman approaches Jesus, Matthew and Mark tell us she had exhausted all her savings on physicians but was no better. Dr. Luke tells us the same story, but chooses to omit the part about costly medical treatment that has proved ineffective.
Also important to Luke, because important first to his Lord, were women. Luke mentions thirteen women mentioned nowhere else in the gospels. All of the gospel writers recognized that Jesus elevated women and gave them a status and honour they had received nowhere else. Oddly enough, Mark momentarily slipped back into the old way of thinking. Mark tells us that Jesus had four brothers, and Mark names them. Then Mark adds that Jesus also had sisters -- without stating how many or what their names were! But Luke tells us that the first European convert to the Christian faith was a woman, Lydia by name. Luke tells us that it was wealthy women who financed the band of disciples when those men had renounced gainful employment. Luke knew much of the degradation of women, and he was determined to overturn it.

-- Victor Shepherd

It's from a sermon I found right here.

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