Scripture: Lectionary 444. Sept.18. I Cor. 12:12-14.27-31. Psalm 100:1-18.104.22.168. Luke 7:11-17
Spiritual gifts and then a miracle are the nourishment we receive from the Liturgy of the Word. Paul is pointing out to the Corinthians that the man gifts they have received through baptism are what the Church as the Body of Christ possesses to be shared with others in the community and in the surrounding peoples who are open to receiving these gifts. All gifts of the Spirit are meant to be diffused and shared within the communities of faith that Paul has founded or inspired. Paul tells us, “All were baptized into one body. All of us have been given to drink of the one Spirit.”
Paul names nine of these gifts in this short pericope. There still remains the greatest of gifts which he will speak of in the next chapter and chapter 13 of his epistle. These are what we today call the three theological virtues; they bring us into the life of the Trinity. We learn that the greatest of these gifts is love or charity in all of its dimensions that reach out to help someone by loving them as Jesus does.
One of the thoughts that we might wish to pursue is to name the gifts that we have received from the Lord and thank God for them. We remember that the charisms we have received are not meant for ourselves but for others. The more we share them the greater they become. Love is what enables us to do this effectively; we are then being conformed and developed into the likeness of Jesus.
Jesus recognized pain and sorrow in the widow of Naim. He takes pity on her knowing that she needs to have someone to help her through the rest of her days. Losing her only son makes her life precarious. She is comforted by Jesus and then he raises her son to life again. Both are only known through this event that is miraculous; both are unnamed and are simply identified with the town from which they came. This story made me think of how Jesus entrusted his mother Mary to the Beloved Disciple and the disciple to her. They were the living foundation of the new born Church in John’s Gospel. They both were filled with the gifts of the Spirit that Paul was talking about. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.