How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ – Isaiah 52:7
It is St. Luke’s Feast Day, so I had all sorts of lessons to choose from in preparing this reflection. There were the beginning verses of the Gospel of Luke and of Acts, where Luke is addressing Theophilus. Three psalms, a reading from Ezekiel about the healing river that flows from the Sanctuary, the lesson from Ecclesiasticus honoring physicians, the reading from Timothy about having fought the good fight and run the race, and the verses from Luke’s Gospel in which Jesus reads the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth were also possibilities.
We know hardly anything about Luke. We think that he was a physician. From the way the Book of Acts is written it seems like he traveled with Paul on some of his journeys. And legend has it that he was the iconographer of the Blessed Mother of Jesus. Perhaps this is why his Gospel is the one that introduces us to Elizabeth and Zechariah, gives us the Magnificat and the Bethlehem birth narrative, and shares the prophesies of Simeon and Anna.
But we have and use daily these precious jewels, his accounts. The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts are immeasurable gifts. How much we owe their author! He gave us stories that have become bedrock to our faith, guiding hundreds of generations of Christian people: the parables of the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, and the Rich Man and Lazarus; the story of Zacchaeus; and the account of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. And through his writing we have a single, unique window on the first generation of Jesus-followers: who they were, where they traveled and settled, and what they valued.
So I chose the verses from Isaiah. How beautiful are the feet of the messenger! How precious is the pen, how sacred is the brush – how praise-worthy the mind and the heart of this man who brings us good news! The best of verbal iconographers, he makes windows for us across the ages. And Christ reaches through them and grabs us by the soul. Thank you, St. Luke, thank you.
And each of us who follows Jesus is, in our own small way, a messenger who brings good news. How do we live our faith? How do we become windows through which Christ can reach for the souls that long to know him? As we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Luke, let’s ask ourselves these questions. How beautiful are our own feet when they are following our call.