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Luke 7:11-17

The Word of God

Soon afterwards Jesus 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 favourably on his people!" This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.

Luke 7:11-17
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus performed this miracle not because he was asked to, but simply because he felt compassion for this widow. I let my gaze rest on this encounter, as I ask for knowing Jesus better so that I can love him and behave as he did in the face of human suffering, even of people I do not personally know.
    • I recall merciful persons I know, whose mercy and concern for others have touched my life. I too glorify God for their presence among us, as clear signs of his favour towards us, motives for hope and trust in a world that often looks so callous.
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    • Our reading today celebrates that extraordinary power and compassion on the part of Jesus in giving life back to the young man and uplifting the heart of his mother.
    • Today we celebrate the remembrance of all the faithful departed and in so doing we share, through the gift of our memory and the power of our prayers, this compassion of Jesus.
    • In remembering the dead, we are also reminded that our time of passing too will come.
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    • How many mothers have hoped and prayed for something like this to happen.
    • What do I pray for when I see a young mother walking behind the coffin of her son?
    • Ask the Lord to make me appreciate the need to pray for what people need and not only for what they desire. The bereaved mother usually requires the grace to cope with the sadness and to face life with courage and trust in God.
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    • I look at the scene and imagine myself present at Nain, witnessing this miracle. I see Jesus who has compassion on the widow, and performs the miracle without being asked to. Is there someone I would like to pray for today, someone who has been through a serious loss, is grieving or feeling lost? Jesus, teach me to be compassionate like you.
    • I may be like the young man, not feeling anything, just carried by others. Or I may be the one carrying someone who feels like dead. Or like the heart-broken mother. I pray to meet Jesus who in his compassion can change my life for the better, giving me life and joy.
    • ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!' I pray for the ability to trust in the potential of today's young people and to look at them in a positive way.
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    • Funeral processions rely on custom and tradition yet, even here, Jesus is prepared to act in a new way. He recognises life in the hope and love of the distressed mother and sympathetic crowd. He shows them that their hopes are not dashed, that love is not over. Help me, Lord, to see how you are at work, bringing life even in seemingly impossible circumstances.
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    • This is the feast of All Souls. Jesus had compassion for the woman bereft of her only son, who was the support of her life. In my bereavements the Lord encounters me also. Can I let the compassionate eyes of Jesus search mine, with understanding and an offer of help?
    • This passage contains a hint of the resurrection of those who have died. In God’s eyes, there are no ‘dead’ people. God is God of the living. If I think of those I miss as being now fully alive in divine company, it brings me hope and longing.
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    • Death, as Jesus speaks of it and lives it, is that moment in which total defeat is transformed by total victory. The world bids us farewell; but God welcomes us home. We are already children of the Father, whose love is stronger than death. Life is eternal because his love is everlasting.
    • Our life is a gradual learning to let go and say an unqualified ‘Yes’. We can let God in a little more each day by becoming more free, more emptied. ‘For all that has been, thanks. For all that shall be, yes.’ (Dag Hammarskjold).
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    • Compassion is Jesus’ instant response to suffering. He comes to heal, to liberate, and to restore to life. Let me here and now allow his compassion to touch my wounds.
    • What is my response to the suffering of others? Do I walk with them in their distress? Would people feel I have a compassionate heart? Lord, grant me to be the gospel of compassion in my own time and place.
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    • This scene reveals the pathos of human life - a funeral procession for an only son, whose mother is a widow. Without her son, she is unprotected and has no place in a patriarchal world. Moved by her pain, Jesus risks legal impurity and defilement in order to help her.
    • Jesus, you reveal a God who comes close to us: you heal our brokenness with kindness and compassion. I live in a broken and tearful world. When the suffering of life threatens to overwhelm me, help me to notice that you are there, watching, and that you ‘come forward’ with your compassion and power to raise me up.
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    • Jesus looked at the widow with compassion – just as he looks at me now. I allow time to acknowledge who or what I mourn, to let Jesus behold me, and to receive his blessing of hope.
    • Jesus says, ‘Do not weep’ as he sees a bigger and more hopeful picture than the one that is hidden from the bereft mother. I pray for all who feel alone, abandoned or bereaved. May they be given hope through the presence and prayer of people like me
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    • Lord, you saw that this was more than just a funeral. On the bier was the only child of a widow. In a man's world, she was left undefended. It was the bereft mother who drew your compassion. Braving the laws of ritual purity, you laid your hand on the bier, and gave the man back to his mother. Then as now, your heart was touched by human misery.
    • The compassion which can invade our hearts at the time of the death of a young person was also in Jesus’ heart for a young widow. He wanted to reach out to her, hold her to his heart and make her life better. This is the same with any suffering we have. The raising up of this young son is a symbol of how Jesus j raises us when we are down. The compassion of his heart lets us know that we are understood, accepted and welcomed in the loving heart of God.
    • The raising of someone from death was a highly unusual event in Jesus' life; as with the raising of Lazarus it is a direct compassionate response to the situation of a family who have lost a loved one. It is also a promise of rising from the dead which is the promise of Jesus to all - that our death is our rising to new life.