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.
They say there is nothing more tragic than a parent losing a child. I haven’t had to experience that in my life and pray I never will. However I do know people who have lost a child in theirs. I don’t think there is anything that tests the faith of an individual than the always tragic loss of a child. In Jesus’ time, it was up to the children to care for and provide for their mother after the husband died. If there was no child, mother’s would often end up losing everything as the inheritance (estate) was not allowed to pass on to the wife/mother.
In today’s Gospel we see a mother mourning the loss of her only son (foreshadowing perhaps?) Jesus then defiles himself (according to Jewish law the worst possible way of being “unclean”) by touching the dead man, and commands him to “arise” which means he really wasn’t defiled after all. Not only does get up, (as Jesus did in His tomb) but he begins to speak (just as Jesus will speak to his followers after his resurrection).
Today’s Gospel reading is a foreshadowing or prototype of Jesus’s own death and resurrection. The Bible is full of these and each of these prefigurements can never surpass or transcend what it is it’s prefiguring. All of these people Jesus rose up before his own Resurrection were not resurrected, but rather resuscitated. To be resurrected is to be perfected and glorified just was Christ was perfect and glorified. These people were rather simply restored to a living state only to die again someday. People were given a chance to see and be reminded of their own mortality.
Whenever I hear of someone (like my own dad) who has been resuscitated, I am reminded of my own mortality and I ponder, “what if that happens to me and there is no one around to perform CPR or if they do and are unsuccessful? Am I ready to meet Jesus and His Judgement? Are you?
Thought for the day: Let’s remember to look after those who’ve lost loved ones. Love and support are great in the first days after a death, but soon that fades with time. We need to remember to support, not just financially our widows. We need to always be ready to meet the Lord because for most of us, there is no second chances.