A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.
Good News Reflection:
Today’s Gospel reading is a message of hope for any situation. Think of the widowed mother as a symbolic Mary and her dead son as Jesus. This incident foreshadowed Christ’s resurrection. Perhaps Mary heard about this miracle and found hope in it on Good Friday.
Read it again and see the dead son as anyone you know who has left the faith, or anyone who has been wounded or abused, or anyone who has lost much in a disaster such as a fire or earthquake or hurricane. Something inside them has died.
“God has visited his people” is the good news that this scripture is saying. It can replace fear, despair, anger, and thoughts of revenge. “I tell you, arise!” Jesus is saying. Our heavenly Father has new life to give.
To “arise” might mean getting back to normal routines. It sometimes means standing up to the abuser and drawing a boundary that says “no more.” It can mean walking away from someone who’s causing harm, and seeking experts who will help with the recovery process.
In a resurrection, there is always something new: a new way of dealing with problems, a new place to work or a new parish to join, or a new courage and inner strength to live a changed life.
To “arise” always includes a new understanding of the Father’s protective love, which comforts us in the midst of evil and leads us from tragedies into triumphs and from woundedness into recovery. God protects us through the decisions that he guides us to make, but if we ignore his guidance and end up suffering from our error, he still says, “Rise up! A new day is dawning!”
God also comforts us and protects us by bringing to us others who can help, but if they ignore his calling or if they fulfill their role poorly, Jesus still says to us, “I am here! Arise with me!” And he calls us to follow him in a new direction.
Evil produces evil and good produces good and God is, because of his infinite goodness, a redeemer who overcomes what is evil by making good arise from it — despite all obstacles. We make ourselves vulnerable to evil by the bad choices we make, but God is always at our side helping us despite our mistakes and sins.
Even when we don’t ask for it, he is helping us. How merciful he is! Even when we don’t accept the help he provides, he doesn’t stop doing more. How caring he is!
Hope is not wishful thinking. It is the awareness of God’s goodness. As you grow stronger in hope, evangelize this hope to those around you who need to hear Jesus say, “Arise!”
Jesus, You are my joy and hope. You are the fresh air I need to live. Thank You for leading me to a new life. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica