October 17, 2017

Mary was a Primary Source for Luke’s Gospel

St. Luke

Father Charles Irvin observes that Luke's Gospel is unique: "Of the four Gospel accounts written by Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, St. Luke’s has been characterized by some scripture scholars as the most beautiful of them all. St. Luke’s Gospel contains accounts of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, for instance. Mary, the mother of Jesus has a special place in his Gospel. Moreover, St. Luke has a special regard for women, for the hurting, the outcasts, and those who were seen to be at the bottom of the social heap in those days. The tender and compassionate heart of Jesus is prominent in St. Luke’s accounts of His life."

Saint Luke’s Gospel is distinctive indeed. It contains information not found in any other account of Jesus’s life, both canonical and non-canonical. Where did Luke get his stories about the conception, birth and infancy of Jesus Christ? Many believe this information came from none other than Mary, the Mother of God.

Who but Mary could have told him the things that she kept in her heart? We know that Luke was with the Apostles at the same time as Mary. In aspiring to write an orderly account of the Savior's life and ministry, it would have been natural to ask Mary what happened from the beginning. It is therefore all but certain that she was a primary source for his portrayal. The Catechism states:

"The Gospel according to St. Luke emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of prayer in Christ's ministry. Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his mission: before his Father's witness to him during his baptism and Transfiguration, and before his own fulfillment of the Father's plan of love by his Passion. He also prays before the decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at his election and call of the Twelve, before Peter's confession of him as "the Christ of God," and again that the faith of the chief of the Apostles may not fail when tempted. Jesus' prayer before the events of salvation that the Father has asked him to fulfill is a humble and trusting commitment of his human will to the loving will of the Father." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2600)

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