Gospel Reflection: Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

TENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JUNE 5, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

A great prophet has risen in our midst

God has visited his people.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

 The Gospel of Saint 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, crying out:  “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.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

What a powerful Gospel story that greets us this Sunday.  The city called Nain is the geographical sight of the Gospel story; it was approximately nine miles south of where Jesus grew up in his town of Nazareth.  Cities and towns in the day of Jesus, as is often the case with small villages even today in Palestine, were surrounded by a wall.  The story tells us that the funeral procession for this young man was proceeding to the cemetery by way of the gate of the city.  It is at the gate that Jesus and His disciples intercept the funeral procession.  Is this gate to be a gate leading to death, or is this gate to be a GATE leading to life?

Despite the large number of people accompanying Jesus and the procession the Gospel deliberately centers on only three persons: the mother, the dead son and Jesus.   Jesus was moved with pitypity for the mother, of course, but also for all of humanity who have to suffer the loss of loved ones!  How could Jesus see this mother, a widow burying her only son, and not think of his mother, a widow who would soon be doing the same thing, burying him, her only son!!

This interception of Jesus and death is not accidental.   Jesus was sent by the Father to defeat all evil, and death itself!   This confrontation of God and death has been on the salvation agenda since the time death first appeared as a result of the fall of Adam.  Now, God Incarnate in Jesus Christ confronts death as a precursor to His own Death and Resurrection!  Through His Death and Resurrection Jesus Christ will destroy death once and for all.

God is a God of Life and Love!  God’s intention from the beginning was to give life to humankind so that they would live with Him eternally.   That is, and will remain for eternity, the will of God!  Now the Gospel of Luke proclaims by this story that the long awaited time is at hand for the Son of God to conquer death and restore the gift of eternal life: Young man, I tell you arise!

Notice the word of the Gospel: arise!  Jesus does not say to the dead man: get up, or come back to life.  The Gospel proclaims from the lips of Jesus the only word that the followers of Jesus would understand: arisethe word of Resurrection!  As death soon will have no claim on Jesus, so death will have not claim on this only son of his mother.

To console the bereaved is good; to bring the dead back to life is better; to gift dead humanity with the Promise of Resurrection is BEST!   But the story does not end there.  The Gospel proclaims more!  Jesus gave him to his mother.   Jesus Christ restores life and reunites family members.  Jesus Christ gives life to the son so that mother and child may be together again.  Life is not to be lived in isolation, or in loneliness but to be lived in family and community – with God and others is the life of heaven!

God is the giver of life; Jesus Christ is the GATE to eternal life! God desires for us to have life together with Him!   As God lives in a family, a community of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so God desires us to life in family, in community with Him and all the saints forever.

The dead man sat up and began to speak!   May we who were dead to sin, rise with Christ to newness of life, and speak out: In Jesus Christ is life, life eternal — WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK!

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

REJOICE & WITNESS

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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