In today’s Gospel, Jesus raises the widow’s son from the dead outside the city of Nain. This symbolic miracle was meant to be much more than a singular act of mercy. What Jesus reveals about himself is worthy of our reflection.
The setting is very important. Jesus is traveling to Nain with a large crowd of primarily Jewish disciples and followers. Their journey comes together with another large crowd of Gentiles who are following the burial procession of the widow’s son. What Jesus does next is meant to be revealed to all people.
Standing in a place close to where the Prophet Elisha rose another mother’s dead son back to life, Jesus violates one of the Jewish laws regarding purity and touches the casket of the son and says, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” This miracle reveals that Jesus has the power of God, like the great prophets of ancient times. Notice however, that Luke refers to Jesus as “Lord” when he first saw the widow. Writing this Gospel after the resurrection, the author Luke reminds his readers, including us, that Jesus was more than a prophet.
Unlike the Centurion in yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus doesn’t act based on the faith of the widow. She likely hadn’t yet heard of Jesus and the miracles he performed. Rather, Jesus “...was moved with pity for her” and showed His great compassion for her and performed this miracle of mercy. In raising the son from the dead, the widow got back her son and her only hope to avoid being an outcast from the community.
Jesus acted out of His infinite compassion for all people. His compassion results in healing and new life for those he touches. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus continues to act with compassion to you, to me, and to everyone.
Jesus gave up his life for us on the Cross in the ultimate act of compassion and mercy. Through this saving act, Jesus has given us new life in the Spirit. Like the people present in today’s Gospel, we too should be overcome with a reverence (Fear) of the Lord and give Him our praise and glory.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Do you trust in the Lord Jesus to give you abundant life and everlasting hope in the face of life's trials, misfortunes, and moments of despair?