THE WIDOW OF NAIN
We resume today the cycle of Ordinary Time. We pick up the Gospel of Luke at Chapter 7. Perhaps it is the appropriate time for a little revision.
This year it is Cycle C of the Gospel readings. That means we are reading Luke. We have had nine Sundays of Ordinary time since January.
We have been stressing that Luke in his Gospel portrays the life of Jesus as a journey towards Jerusalem, his death and resurrection. We know from the other Gospels that the ministry of Jesus lasted three years. Luke uses the image of one long journey to describe the life of Jesus.
The early part of the Gospel is about the birth of Jesus and the beginning of his ministry. In the Gospel today, Jesus has reached Nain. He has left Nazareth. He is about two miles down the road. He is on the road to Jerusalem!
What happens at Nain?
This is the beginning of the journey to Jerusalem. It is only 2 miles down the road. There is a large crowd following Jesus. His disciples are with him. They come across a funeral procession. There is a large crowd, a dead youth and a widowed mother.
The scene is set. It is a sad scene. The woman has already lost her husband and now her only son. She would be completely destitute with no means of income. The scripture says” the Lord saw her and felt sorry for her”. “Do not cry,” he said. This woman is destitute and powerless. Jesus comes to her help.
The story is about the COMPASSION of Jesus. In a strange town and with a crowd of strangers, Jesus is overwhelmed with compassion. He simply goes up to the bier and says “Young man, I tell you to get up”. “And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother”.
What a start to the missionary journey of Jesus. Everyone was filled with awe and praised God saying, “a great prophet has appeared among us. God has visited his people.”
Is it any wonder that the opinion of Jesus spread throughout the whole of Judea and the whole countryside? We are beginning to see the signs and wonders that accompanied the compassion of Jesus as he walks towards his triumph in Jerusalem. He has only just begun. He has raised a young man from the dead.