The Gospel of Luke is sometimes called the Gospel of mercy because it includes many teachings of Jesus about God’s forgiveness and mercy. Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles about how the early Church shared the good news of Jesus Christ with others.
Luke traveled with Paul
Luke was a doctor who traveled with Paul on his journeys to tell others about Jesus. Luke is mentioned in three New Testament letters. Luke was probably not Jewish and wrote his Gospel especially for other non-Jewish followers of Jesus. Like the authors of the other Gospels, Luke wrote years after Jesus had died. The Gospel of Luke was probably written about the year 70.
The Gospel of Luke contains parables of Jesus such as the good Samaritan and the forgiving father that are not found in the other Gospels. This Gospel teaches us that Jesus came for all people, including the poor and the outcasts. The Gospel of Luke shows us how to live as disciples of Jesus with compassion for others.
The Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles continues where the Gospel of Luke leaves off. Jesus tells his disciples, “You will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We hear the account of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost and how the disciples carried the message of Jesus Christ far and wide. We, too, are called to witness to what Jesus Christ said and did.
What we can do
■ Talk about St. Luke. Who was this saint? What parts of the Bible did he write? Why is Luke’s Gospel called the Gospel of mercy? What are some stories about Jesus from the Gospel of Luke? What is the Acts of the Apostles about? How can we share the good news of Jesus Christ with others?
■ Act out stories from Luke’s Gospel. This can include the ten lepers (Luke 17:12-19), Jesus with the children (Luke 18:15-16), and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-18). Divide the children into three groups and assign each group one story to act out. The other children are the audience until it is their turn.
■ Look up Bible verses about compassion. Discuss these verses from Luke: “Whoever has two coats must share with the person who has none” (Luke 3:11), “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31), and “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much” (Luke 12:48).
Holy Spirit, help us to learn about your Word in Scripture and live it in our lives each day. Guide us to be disciples of Jesus Christ and share the Good News with others. Show us how to be caring and compassionate people following the example of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. Amen.
Patricia Mathson, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She has authored many books, including 33 Mass Lessons and Activities for Children from Twenty-Third Publications.
This article was first published in Catechist magazine, October 2018
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