Not long after that, Jesus went to the village of Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd.
As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession - a woman’s only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow.
When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, “Don’t cry.” Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped.He said, “Young man, I tell you: Get up.” The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother.
They all realised they were in a place of holy mystery, that God was at work among them. They were quietly worshipful - and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves, “God is back, looking to the needs of his people!”
The news of Jesus spread all through the country.
One of the toughest things about coping with the death of a loved one is the realisation that while your world has been devastated, others around you are just going on with life as usual.
There must have been a huge contrast in mood between the funeral procession and the crowd with Jesus, who may have just witnessed him curing the centurion’s servant, and would probably be in high spirits.
As soon as he sees the procession, Jesus understands the whole situation, and he responds immediately. In most of the accounts of the miracles Jesus works, someone asks him to help, and they declare their faith in him, confident that he can do the impossible. But here, nobody asks anything of Jesus, and nobody mentions faith.
This week, we have celebrated the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and in this passage, we see the compassion of Jesus in action. He sees the grieving widowed mother, who will be left destitute as well as bereft by the loss of her only son, and his heart just goes out to her. His divine power is obvious: doesn't even pray or call on God at all – he just commands the dead man to get up, and death is overturned. The people who saw this know now that God is at work among them.
We are often told that God knows what we need, and this miracle demonstrates that we don't always need to ask - his love for us means he can see our problems, he truly feels for us, and he can act with mercy and compassion before we even know it.
Salesian Communication Worker
Thank you for the love you have for us, love so powerful that you know what we need even if we don’t ask for your help.
Help us to give our hearts to you, just as you have given your Sacred Heart to us, and let us be as compassionate as you when we see others suffering and in need.