Today’s Gospel: Luke 7, 11-17 – St. John Chrysostom
The woman stands alone, mourning. Her only son has just died. He was a strong, helpful man, a good son. He took care of her. He was her only hope for preservation and survival after her husband died – her salvation. The crowd follows her out of the city gates to bury him. They follow her for various reasons. Perhaps to mourn with her. Perhaps to see the spectacle of this woman’s tragedy. Perhaps because this is what everyone else is doing. Maybe they talk. “Poor woman”. “She’ll be destitute.” ” I wonder what her sins were to bring on such tragedy…” No one is walking with her, but all are watching this woman, the unwitting reality television star of her era.
Jesus sees her, in the midst of the crowd, in the midst of her pain. He looks into her eyes and sees her soul; and he is moved with pity for her. He stops and says to her, “Do not weep”. Then he touches her son and brings him back to life, back to her. Just like that, her tragedy is turned into joy. She rejoices!
And the crowd rejoices too…but wait. They are seized by fear. They glorify God. They remember that Elijah the prophet brought a widow’s son back to life also. Who is this man, this Jesus? A great prophet in their midst? God visiting his people? They are in awe of him, and spread the report of this miracle through the land. All because Jesus stopped, saw this woman in her pain, and touched her soul, ministered to her need, in this case by bringing her son back to life. This is how he works. Through personal relationships, with love, and yes, with miracles.
Who are you in this story? The woman in the midst of crisis? One of the members of the crowd, watching the spectacle? Where are those in your world who are hurting? Can you reach out? See them for who they really are, and love them. Minister to their needs. And with that, Christ works through you, and another soul is brought into the kingdom.
Thank you, Jesus, for seeing each of us as we are. Show us how to be the light for those around us, and use us to demonstrate your unending love to those who are hurting. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Ashleigh Payne
Ashleigh Payne is a wife, mother of two precious little ones, and a pediatric cardiologist who is trying to navigate this busy life with love, grace, and joy. A Catholic convert, she relishes every opportunity to grow more deeply in the faith. Follow her blog, Small Things with Great Love.