A Daily Gospel Reflection by Dn. Chuck McDaniels for September 19th, 2023

The Gospel according to 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.


I recall reading or hearing someplace that “death is the great equalizer”.  I don’t remember now where I saw it, but it is a remarkably true statement.  All of us, no matter what we have, no matter where we live, no matter what kind of life we have lived, will eventually reach the end of that life.  Modern science has done a lot to extend human life, but it hasn’t done away with death (and I don’t believe such a thing is likely to come soon, if ever).

For the story in today’s Gospel of the widow of Nain, death was especially painful, as not only was she a widow (so her husband had already died, leaving her dependent on her son), but now that son was also dead.  She literally had no one who would have responsibility for her.  She would be utterly and totally dependent on strangers for her most basic needs.  What a terrifying prospect for a widow at that time!

It is into that scene that Jesus arrives, and notice what He does.  He reassures the widow, and raises her son back to life.  Her fears of being cast off and forgotten were removed!  Is there any difficulty in understanding how “fear seized them all”?  It’s one of Luke’s examples of Jesus doing two things: showing His power over death, and of Jesus caring for one who would be quite literally outcast in their society.  That’s a hallmark of Luke’s view of Jesus’ ministry.

Thinking of that power over death is especially close to my heart now, as we are preparing to celebrate the life of Linda’s brother Michael soon, and today is actually the anniversary of my mom’s passing, twelve years ago.  Both of these deaths were fairly sudden, and the ache that we feel never really goes away.  But, we trust in the one who has power over death to care for these whom we love, that the parting is temporary – we will see each other again!  That hope allows us not to drown in grief, but to pray even more earnestly that we will live a life where Jesus calls to each of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, and we enjoy life with Him and all of those gone before us, forever.

Action for the Day:   

It’s a more personal action this time – won’t you please pray for Linda’s family, and for her brother Michael’s soul, that he may even now be in the presence of our loving Lord, and the Saints?  Thank you!

If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below! 

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