Scripture: Lectionary 091. 10th Sunday Ord. C. I Kings 17:17-24. Psalm 30:2.4.5-126.96.36.199. Galatians 1:11-19. Luke 7:11-17:
The living word of God brings life even to those who have died. In the Gospel as well as in the first reading from I Kings we see the effects of the living word of God through the person of Jesus raising the son of a widow who lived in a town called Naim and in the selection from Kings we see Elijah bringing a child back to life by breathing upon it while hovering over its body. Jesus is the living word of God; Elijah is the prophet who speaks the living word of God. Miracles do happen that are beyond our human imagining or thinking. “With God all things are possible.”
Jesus knew that the widow had no one to depend upon so he has compassion and restores her son to life. God’s word brings life to all who believe—even life from the dead and life everlasting for all who believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. A reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews is one of my favorites” “Indeed, God’s word is living and effective, sharper than a two-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Jesus always has compassion for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the children—all who depend almost solely on God. These may be called the ‘Anawim or the Poor of God. We see them praying in most of the psalms we ourselves pray. The psalms are primarily the prayer of the poor and are often from the Levites who possessed no land of their own and were in this respect similar to the poor.
In Luke’s Gospel there is a predilection for the poor. He emphasizes the kindness and compassion of Jesus who exerts his power over those poor, blind, and deaf, and helpless. Luke reminds us of the power of Elijah (we could add the same for Elisha, the servant prophet of Elijah). The raising of the son of the widow of Naim is one of three such resuscitations that Jesus performs in the Gospels. (We recall Lazarus in John 11 and the twelve year old girl in Mark’s Gospel where the Aramaic of Jesus comes to mind “Talitha, kum, little girl, arise).
Near the city of Haifa in Israel there is a cave where those who have been healed by Elijah have signs, crutches, bandages, and ex votossimilar to what one sees at Lourdes. God’s gifts are not restricted to Catholics!
Returning to Luke’s Gospel we realize that he addresses Jesus as Lord—the title that is given to Jesus after the Resurrection. Luke knows the full story and retells it in the light of his inspired writing which is framed by the resurrection of Jesus.
Our own needs are met by Jesus and we are led to pray our psalm for today: “Hear, O Lord, and have pity upon me; O Lord, be my helper; you changed my mourning into dancing; O Lord, my God, forever, I will give you thanks.” (Psalm 30: 11-13) Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.