The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 7:11-16
There was a woman who was preparing for a very sad occasion. In fact she was preparing to do the most difficult thing that a parent can ever conceive of doing. She was preparing for the burial of her only son. Her husband had passed away earlier and all that she had left in this life was this one beloved son. We do not know why this son died. We only know that he did die. It was a very difficult time in this woman’s life. She was in great anguish over the loss of the son whom she loved.
It is hard to imagine her painful emotional state unless you’ve gone through something similar. It is hard for us to find the will and the energy necessary to focus on her or on others who are in pain. Often when we see a difficult situation we run in the other direction instead of focusing on the pain. In fact in at least one of the so-called “great religions” of the world, we are told that suffering and pain is caused by our improper attachments in life. This is the wisdom of the so-called “enlightened one” or Buddha. Pain is something to escape through detachment.
But we thank God that He has sent His Son to enlighten us with His true light. Our Lord does not dismiss the tremendous suffering that He encounters. He doesn’t try to flee from it. St. Luke tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ “had compassion on her.” It is easy to talk about love and compassion from far away, from the outside. It is another thing completely to go into the depths of a situation and show the action of love. This action of love often means getting your hands dirty by coming into situations that are full of agony or difficulties.
The Lord doesn’t run away from this situation because He is our creator. He has a deep desire to help us through the pains and struggles that we face. Even here in the most terrible, the darkest hour of her life…He will come to her. He saw her struggle. He knows ours. We often put limits on what we think God is capable of doing in our lives. Very often we think that a situation is either too little for God to be bothered or too big to expect anything miraculous. My friends, there is nothing bigger than death.
Or should I say, there was nothing bigger than death except for God and His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. Our Lord is greater than any problem we face, up to and including terrible tragedies, sickness, disease and yes…even death. God hates death. He also hates our culture of death. It is completely contrary to the nature of God who is life Himself! Where God is present, there is life. So we should not be surprised about the miracle that happened in the city of Nain, because we know the identity and the source of this miracle. Where God is present, death ceases to be the problem. Death is dispersed and evaporated in the light of the Life-giver.
If Our Lord Jesus has this type of power over death, imagine the power that He has over all of the others issues and struggles that we face. These are not just old stories and myths that have been shared for 2000 years. These miracles and stories overflow in the life of the Church because she is the dwelling of the saints who are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit gives us life.
Ultimately this miracle is not about raising the woman’s son to life. He would later die again. This miracle is really the reminder that the Lord Jesus has this power over death itself. This power is triggered by His overwhelming love for this woman and for each of us. This power is over physical death and spiritual death, which has power long after the body has passed from this life. As we reflect on the power of Jesus Christ over this dead man, we also contemplate our need to be raised again to life from our inner deadness. I am like the Pharisees, like a white-washed tomb that is clean on the outside but actually full of a dead man’s bones. It is an impossible situation. One that I cannot fix or change on my own. I have no power over death. I have little power over my condition….but I have hope in Him. He is my healing. He is my life. He is my resurrection! He makes death to cease within us and give way to new and eternal life because He is the everlasting source.
May we have faith to get through all our difficulties, whether they are small or impossibly great. No matter how great they are, He is still greater. Glory be to God forever, AMEN.