The stories we hear in the Sciptures today start out as sad stories, stories about death, yet they are not without hope as death is short lived and we see what we have to look forward to, maybe not in this life but in eternity. They also show us the true desire of our Lord and God for us!
What is most striking to me in this Gospel passage is the compassion of Jesus: “When the Lord saw her (a widow who had lost her only son in death) he had compassion for her.” It is an immediate reaction, on Jesus’ behalf, that he “suffers with” her (this is what the word compassion means). He feels her pain. Her sorrow becomes his own. This is our God and his love for us, that he wants to be with us in our sorrow. Even though there is much mystery to God’s allowance of suffering we must never think that the Lord is unmoved or uncaring.
I am also struck by the Jesus’ immediate response; without even being asked he performed this miracle of raising this women’s son to life, “And Jesus gave him to his mother.” Scripture is filled with passages of Jesus’ miracles yet usually most are preceded by an act of faith, or belief, on behalf of the person needing the help. However this one is slightly different, it is very personal and intimate, as Jesus suffers with her he can feel her pain and deep need. No words need to be spoken by her for Jesus to know her desire. This woman who feels so alone, even though she is surrounded by a large crowd, is no longer alone as Jesus comes to her and places her resurrected son’s hand in hers.
This woman who has not even asked for the Lord’s help has received so much of the Lord’s compassion (his intimate presence), even so, how much more will the Lord Jesus do for us if we but turn to him and ask (as the Prophet Elijah does in the first reading)? This story is also a glimpse for us of what Jesus will accomplish in all of our lives, as he restores all to himself. He will give back to us all that the world and the devil has stolen. It also shows us that we do not need to suffer alone for we have a God and Father who has a deep, personal love for each one of us, who can relate to our sufferings, and who desires to suffer with us in our woes.
As we reflect on this message today let us remember and trust in Jesus’, in God’s, love for us and not be afraid to turn to him in our sorrows and our woes. We have so much to be hopeful for in our eternal home, and we do not have to make the journey there alone. Let our prayer be, “Jesus, I trust in your love for me. Jesus, I trust in your love for me!”
1st Reading: 1 Kings 17.17-24
2nd Reading: Galatians 1.11-19
Gospel: Luke 7.11-17