Father Matthew Kaderabek, LC
Luke 7: 11-17
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.
Prayer: Jesus, what a joy and what a gift
to have this time to be with you alone!
I want to know you more deeply. I want to
hope in you more firmly. I want to love
you with greater constancy in my daily life. Only
you can give me these gifts. Only you can make
me a bold and joyful apostle of your Kingdom.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to appreciate and remain in
the state of grace.
1. Compassionate and Merciful: Surrounded by
many enthusiastic followers, Jesus encounters a funeral procession as he
approaches the city gate. He stops walking, he stops
his conversation, and he shifts his full attention to
the grieving mother who has lost her only son.
Luke explains that Jesus was “moved with pity.” Jesus, in
his human nature, felt much compassion for this grieving
woman. He “feels her pain.” How much more does
Jesus in his divine nature comprehend the pain—physical, emotional or
spiritual—that each of us encounters in our daily lives.
As in the case of this widow, he meets
each of us with compassion and will work a miracle
if we let him. Sometimes the miracle is that
he relieves our pain, as he does for the
widow in this Gospel passage. But sometimes the miracle is
that he forgives our sins or strengthens us to
bear our pain for his sake, and for the sake
of bringing more souls to eternal happiness in his
2. The Church’s Joy: The Church, often called “Mother Church,”
rejoices when her sinful children return to a life
of grace through the sacrament of confession. Saints Ambrose
and Augustine saw this Gospel story as reflecting this truth.
St. Ambrose tells us that the Church is a
mother who intercedes for each one of her children
like the widow for her only son (Commentary on Saint
Luke’s Gospel, V, 92). Saint Augustine points out: “The
widowed mother rejoiced at the raising of that young
man… Our Mother the Church rejoices every day when people
are raised again in spirit. The young man had
been dead physically; the latter, dead spiritually. The young
man’s death was mourned visibly; the death of the latter
was invisible and unmourned. He seeks them out who
knew them to be dead; only he can bring
them back to life” (Sermons, 98, 2).
3. Raised from Spiritual
Death: Christ, in his endless mercy, wants eternal life for
each one of us. The treasury of his compassion
is inexhaustible, as Saint Faustina tells us. In his
mercy, Jesus gave his earthly, ministerial priests the power to
forgive sins (John 20:22-23). When our venial sins
are confessed and forgiven, we receive more grace (a greater
share in the divine life of the Trinity) and
draw closer to Christ, receiving strength to avoid mortal
sin. When our mortal sins are confessed and forgiven, we
not only receive grace and draw closer to Christ,
but we are raised from the worst kind of fate,
namely, spiritual death, the eternal death of our soul.
Praise God! No wonder Mother Church rejoices.
Christ: Lord Jesus, through confession, I can be sure
that I am forgiven, and you restore peace to
my soul. Do not allow my pride and my shame
ever to keep me from taking advantage of this
beautiful sacrament, the sacrament of freedom.
I will spend at least five minutes examining my conscience
today and begin preparing my next confession, which I
will go to this week.