For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060516.cfm
In our Gospel this Sunday, Jesus encounters a widow who’s only son had died. We are told that “As he drew near to the gate of the city, (Nain) a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” Certainly the loss of a child is a tragedy, but in this case the tragedy was compounded by the fact that the woman was a widow and it was her only son who had died. He was probably her sole source of financial support. We are told that Jesus was moved with pity for the widow so 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.” In response the people were seized with fear “and they glorified God, exclaiming, ‘A great prophet has arisen in our midst,’ and ‘God has visited his people.’”
This story is a wonderful illustration of Jesus’ compassion. A couple things should be noted, though. First, notice that no one asked Jesus to raise the dean man to life. Jesus assessed the situation and took the initiative to respond to the woman’s great need. Second, this story is about resuscitation, not a resurrection. There is a difference. The young man was restored to this life. He was not given eternal life.
The first reading this Sunday is taken from the first Book of Kings. It is the story of Elijah restoring to life the son of the widow of Zarephath. While it bears similarities to the Gospel, an important difference is that Elijah did not restore the child to life; rather he prayed to God to restore the child to life. And God did. “O Lord, my God, let the life breath return to the body of this child. The Lord heard the prayer of Elijah; the life breath returned to the child’s body and he revived.”
The second reading this Sunday is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians. In the section we read this Sunday Paul explains the source of his call. “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Jesus’ recognized and responded to the need of the widow of Nain without her ever having to say word. Has God ever responded to a need you had before you prayed about it?
- The people in today’s Gospel responded to the raising of the widow’s son with fear and praise. How do you think you would have responded?
- Have you ever felt called by God to do something?