I have always liked this Gospel passage because I think it reveals a true glimpse of Jesus. As He enters the town there’s a funeral procession. An inquiry is made who the deceased. The answer is that he’s the only son of a widow. Jesus is also. He asks the pall bearers to halt and he addresses the corpse telling him to arise. And so it happens. Jesus gives him back to his mother.
There are three things I see in this passage that increase my love and devotion to Jesus. He makes connections. He notices things, He listens, and He speaks words of hope and promise. Secondly, His words .are not empty, they are followed by a divine power that makes all things new. Thirdly, His actions are loving. He not only shows care for people, but through His actions He continues to teach, serve, and love even the stranger.
So now it comes to us, His disciples to do the same. We can’t just stand around and say, “That’s nice, but I can’t raise people from the dead.” What is it that we can do in imitation of Jesus? We can also notice those around us who are having a good or bad time. Sometimes people just need to feel acknowledged, affirmed, or noticed. We can show kindness to others, by our enthusiasm or encouragement. That could be done by a smile or a good word. Jesus, ever the teacher, knew that His disciples and the crowd were watching, so He not only gave them a good example of hope, but also spent time with the widow, rather than just passing the funeral procession go by.
Our world can be a busy place, with anonymous people who pass by each day. Yet God has created a large world with many people who need to hear someone say, “How can I help?” Let us today be instruments of God’s peace and love today.
- Fr. Michael Greene, C.P., Associate Retreat Director, “The Passionist Spiritual Center in New York City”, Bishop Molloy Retreat House, Jamaica, NY www.bishopmolloy.org