Death is never easy, even when the person is old or has had a long illness. Death leaves us feeling helpless. No doubt that the widow from Nain felt helpless.
Her security, her dignity, all hope for the future was dead with her son in the coffin. Little wonder that Jesus was moved with pity for her. Perhaps the Lord knew that she was poor and that her son was her livelihood. Notice however, that the widowed mother did not ask anything from Jesus. She didn’t cry out, didn’t ask for a miracle, maybe she didn’t even know that Jesus was present. The Lord saw her. If we step back and analyze our life—that’s our story too. The Lord saw us. Once upon a time, perhaps in our darkest hour—the Lord saw us and had pity on us. What other explanation can there be for our survival? How else can we account for our faith? We look a lot like the widowed mother. In a sense we are helpless—without God we can do nothing. Like the widow we walk crying by the coffin of shattered dreams. In the coffin are the sins we have committed, our old self, the illusion of what we wanted to be. Like a funeral we can be in morning—disillusioned—our heart full of regrets. Such an attitude can lead to depression. We can get so distracted with our grief that we forget who is walking with us. We keep thinking about what’s in the box—in the coffin. Only Jesus can bring the dead back to life. The regrets, the mistakes, the wrong choices can be given new life. If we have lost hope, hope can be restored. The funeral can stop as long as we have Jesus by our side. There is no need to bury what is still alive.
Lots of people are breathing but act like they are dead. Many who have died that are very much alive. That’s why we believe in the Communion of Saints. The Saints are part of us. Everyone who has died and gone to live with God is a saint. We have an official list, but there are countless that are not on the list. Therefore we pray for their intercession because they have already walked the road. The saints are not limited by time or space. They an advantage—they already see the face of God. They are not afraid. Fear is an enemy of faith. If we have faith then we have no business being afraid. When we loose control or when things do not go like we planned or when we get sick—a common reaction is to be afraid. Unfortunately we tend to remember when things go wrong—we remember the negative.
Something good happened to the widowed mother and her son. People remembered. The account got written into the Bible. There
were no cell phones, no television sets, no computers but the word spread. Wonder how often we spread the word when something good happens in our life. Again, we tend to remember the negative and take the good things for granted. On any given day the good things outnumber the bad and we say nothing. Witnessing to others about the miracles that God has done in our life can be a powerful ministry. Bet that widowed mother and the revived son talked about the day that Jesus touched them for the rest of their lives. Consider the times we have been forgiven—the close calls with death that we have had—the countless favors we have received. Our community needs to hear about the good stuff because much of what we hear is negative. When someone calls, we usually expect to hear a complaint. How about calling folks just to share what God is doing in our life. Since we are here—since we are alive—because we have faith—there’s a lot of positive news to share. Perhaps today we can start.
God is talking to us. “Do not weep” He tells us. There is so much for which to rejoice. The Lord gives us new life in the Eucharist.