Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still.
And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Jesus did not act in today’s Gospel because of any one person’s request. Rather, he encountered the burial procession by chance, then spoke and acted from personal desire. What must the mother have thought of Jesus strange admonition not to weep? Before she can even respond to Jesus for what probably sounded to hears as insensitive, she has the overwhelming experience of seeing her son rising out of his coffin.
Jesus’ example shows us that we do not need to wait to be asked to be of service, and that healing can come at any time if we are open to it. The world is full of injustice, natural disaster, and other pains. Opportunities abound and the initiative is ours to take. As each chance to serve in charity and work against injustice arrives, we pray to live with the conviction that Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, is still doing his work of healing around, within, and through us.
—Mike Tedone, SJ, is a Jesuit Scholastic of the West Province in First Studies at Loyola University Chicago.
Christ’s love is full of tenderness, of solicitude not only for our souls but also for our bodies, for physical pain which he heals even without being asked to; for the sadness of his friends, for the hunger of the poor which he hurries to satisfy; and with what delicacy he defended his hungry disciples when they ate the ears of corn, with what tenderness he prepared breakfast after the night’s fishing!
—St. Alberto Hurtado, SJ