Today’s Gospel reminds us of the precious gift of life and its fleeting nature. The young man is raised to life and returned to his widowed mother, an act that provokes fear, astonishment, and a profession of faith. Jesus is God, fully human and fully divine, He understands everything we are going through, and is the only One who can help us traverse this journey of life and make it to our heavenly reward.
Reports Spreading Abroad
The Gospels are sprinkled liberally with tales of Jesus’ prodigious acts of healing, preaching and signs of wonder and awe! Nothing like the raising of a dead man to get some attention, and news spread like wildfire throughout Judea and the surrounding regions. They are the necessary first step to awaken a person’s interest. Who is this man who turns water into wine, calms a storm with a word, cures with a touch (or from a distance) and even raises from the dead? Could it be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God? Andrew and Philip give the most fitting of answers: Come and See!
Heart Of God
Let’s unpack today’s gospel once more and seek to understand the compassionate heart of a God who loves without measure. Today’s adventure has Jesus making the journey to Nain accompanied by a crowd of apostles. They met another crowd, but one that is singing dirges and carrying the body of a young man who has died, the only son of his mother, who is a widow. And Jesus’s heart is moved with pity. He knows our story as intimately as the story of the young Nainean and his grieving mother. Jesus says to the woman ‘Do Not Weep’. How can she not? She has no husband and now her solitary support has been cut off in his prime. Can we trust God when His words do not make sense? Can we still place our trust in Him, hoping against hope?
One is reminded too of Christ’s own mother, a widow, who stands at the foot of the Cross, watching the life of her only Son ebb away as his blood waters the slope of Mount Calvary. And here too, the dying Jesus has compassion on her and gives her His beloved disciple as her son. This is a God who does not count the cost when He’s paying the bill but provides for us even as we pass through our darkest hour.
The young man from Nain. Lazarus. Jairus’ daughter. All raised from the dead, yet each of them suffered death again, for it is so ordained for the human condition. Death is inevitable and will come to us all. But for the Christian, where is your sting, O Death? It has been crushed under the weight of the Cross. By His death, Christ has destroyed death. And in so doing, He has paid the price for our redemption. The young man was raised, and so too shall we be, at the end of our allotted time. Do not be afraid. Our death is no longer a dungeon to be feared, but our birthday into Heaven, God willing!