Lectio: Luke 7:11-17
1) Opening prayer
our creator and guide,
may we serve You with all our hearts
and know Your forgiveness in our lives.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Luke 7:11-17
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep." He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, "A great prophet has arisen in our midst," and "God has visited his people." This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.
• Today’s Gospel presents the episode of the resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain. The literary context of this episode of the VII chapter of Luke helps one to understand. The Evangelist wants to show that Jesus opens the road, revealing the novelty of God which is presented to us in the announcement of the Good News. And in this way the transformation and openness take place: Jesus accepts the request of a foreigner, a non Jew (Lk 7:1-10) and resurrects the son of a widow (Lk 7:11-17). The way in which Jesus reveals the Kingdom surprises the Jewish brothers who were not accustomed to such great openness. Even John the Baptist is surprised and orders to go and ask: “Are you the one who is to come or are we to expect someone else?” (Lk 7:18-30). Jesus denounces the disconnectedness of His patricians: “They are like children shouting to one another without knowing what they want!” (Lk 7:31-35). And finally, there is the openness of Jesus toward women (7:36-50).
• Luke 7:11-12: The meeting of the two processions. “Jesus went to a town called Nain. His disciples and a great crowd were going with Him. When He was close to the gate of the town, there was a dead man being carried out to the cemetery, the only son of his mother and she was a widow.” Luke is like a painter. With few words he succeeds to paint a very beautiful picture on the encounter of the two processions: the procession of death which is going out of the city and accompanies the widow who is taking her only son towards the cemetery; the procession of life which enters the city and accompanies Jesus. The two meet in the small square at the side of the gate of the town of Nain.
• Luke 7:13: Compassion begins to act here. “When the Lord saw her, He felt sorry for her and said to her: “Do not cry!” It is compassion which moves Jesus to speak and to act. Compassion signifies literally: “to suffer with”, to assume or make ours the suffering of the other person, identifying oneself with the person, feeling the pain, the suffering. It is compassion which puts into action the power of Jesus, the power of life over death, the creative power.
• Luke 7:14-15: “Young man, I tell you, get up!” Jesus gets near the bier and says: “Young men, I tell you, get up!” And the dead man sat up and began to talk; and Jesus gave him to his mother”. Sometimes, at the moment of a great sorrow caused by the death of a loved person, people say: “In Jesus’ time, when He walked on this earth there was hope not to lose a loved person because Jesus could resurrect her”. These persons consider the episode of the resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain as an event of the past which arouses nostalgia and also certain envy. The intention of the Gospel, instead, is not, that of arousing nostalgia or envy, but rather of helping us to experience better the living presence of Jesus in our midst. It is the same Jesus, who continues alive in our midst, capable of overcoming death and the sorrow of death. He is with us today, and in the face of the problems of sorrow which strike us, He tells us: “I tell you, get up!”
•Luke 7:16-17: The repercussion. “Everyone was filled with awe and glorified God saying: ‘A great prophet has risen up among us; God has visited His people”. The fame of these events spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside”. It is the prophet who was announced by Moses (Dt 18:15). It is God who comes to visit us and the “Father of orphans and protector of the widows” (Ps 68:6: Judith 9:11).
4) Personal questions
• Compassion moves Jesus to resurrect the son of the widow. Does the suffering, the sorrow of others, produce in me the same compassion? What do I do to help the others to overcome the sorrow and to create a new life?
• God visited His people. Do I perceive the many visits of God in my life and in the life of the people?
5) Concluding Prayer
Serve Yahweh with gladness,
come into His presence with songs of joy!
Be sure that Yahweh is God, He made us,
we belong to Him, His people, the flock of His sheepfold. (Ps 100:2-3)