Have you ever picked up a book and thought: “Wow! This was written just for me! This is exactly what I needed to hear.” I have a suspicion that this is what St. Luke wanted each of us to think about the gospel he wrote.
In the very first line, he addressed his gospel to a person named “Theophilus.” In Greek, Theophilus means “Lover of God”- which is what we are! Luke, it would seem, wrote his gospel just for us. And as we read it, I’d bet he’d want us to think: “This is exactly what I needed to hear!”
Luke’s gospel is distinguished by themes of thankfulness, joy, and praise. It paints for us a portrait of Jesus who is prayerful, merciful, forgiving, concerned for the poor and outcast, and welcoming of all people- men and women, Jew and Gentile- into the kingdom of God. And Jesus is depicted as teaching at a series of meals as he journeys toward Jerusalem, where he celebrates a final meal- the Last Supper- at which he gives us a meal, the Holy Eucharist.
Like Jesus, we are on a journey to Jerusalem- the heavenly Jerusalem. And as we walk with Jesus, Luke would have us be nourished by the Eucharistic meal, so we can become more prayerful, joyful, thankful, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, and welcoming like Jesus- in other words, a true “Theophilus,” or lover of God.
Deep down, this is what we all want to become. That’s why Luke wrote his gospel, just for us. So we might say: “This is exactly what I needed to hear!”