Professor of History of Christianity
at the University of Catania
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Itl-Ipl, Milano 2002, pp. 286


The events of Jesus' life, related by Luke to the gentile Christian communities of Greece and Asia Minor, swarm with extraordinary characters portrayed with refined literary art and subtle moral concern. There are female figures as the aged and barren Elizabeth and the young virgin, the widow who has been deprived of her only son, the sinful woman full of love and gratitude, Martha bustling about and Mary contemplating at the Teacher's feet, the repentant women on the road to the cross. They are accompanied by men as the foreign traveller deeply moved to pity, the rich man who "feasted sumptuously every day" and Lazarus lying down among dogs, the generous father and the insipient sons, the dishonest and shrewd manager, Zaccheus climbed on the sycamore tree, the criminal who is promised the Paradise, the pilgrims on the road to Emmaus. It's a gallery of portraits in which every listener or reader is invited to find himself. The Messiah of Israel meets creatures bent by evil: the wisdom of his word and the effectiveness of his action make them rise again from all misery, giving health, freedom and dignity and making everyone able to act for the common good. Finally, Jesus will always be recognised in the breaking of the bread, while accompanying his friends on the ways of the world. Lucan account is the announcement of a life that defeats death and recalls each human being to his own responsibility: every gift gratefully received becomes a personal commitment.