Thursday, August 31, 2017

Luke's Role in Catholic Tradition

This week I taught my first class at the Augustine Institute. I'm quite impressed by the students so far.

As I mentioned, this semester I'm teaching Luke-Acts. As I prepped for the first day of the course, it struck me just how important Luke really is in Catholic tradition.

More of the New Testament is attributed to Luke than any other author; Luke-Acts comprises roughly 28% of the New Testament! That means that he wrote more of the New Testament than Paul, Matthew, and John. We often forget this.

In addition, Luke is our only written source for many traditions that have become central in Christian theological reflection, spirituality, and Christian imagination (e.g., art). Luke is the only biblical author to relate the following:
  • Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary, in which he calls her “Full of Grace” (Luke 1:24–38) 
  • Mary’s visitation at Elizabeth’s and her Magnificat (Luke 1:39–66) 
  • Zechariah’s Benedictus (Luke 2:29–35) 
  • The scene of shepherds witnesses angels singing Gloria on the night of the nativity (Luke 2:8–20) 
  • Episodes from Jesus’ childhood such as the presentation in the temple (Luke 2:22–39) and the finding of the twelve-year old Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:41–52) 
  • Parables of Jesus such as the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29–37) and Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32) 
  • The account of Jesus’ words to the repentant criminal crucified with him (Luke 23:39–43) 
  • The appearance of the Risen Christ to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–35) 
  • The Ascension of Jesus (Luke 24:50–51; Acts 1:9–11) 
  • The story of the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1–42) 
  • Paul’s encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–31) 
  • The first ecclesial council (Acts 15:6–29) 
This list is truly astounding. Christian tradition without Luke? It's almost impossible to imagine!I'm very much looking forward to diving into this material.

If you're interested in taking courses at the Augustine Institute, don't hesitate to call: 303.937.4420.

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