Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Life Breath Returned

The Life Breath Returned

June 9, 2013
Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time C

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

The LORD heard the prayer of Elijah; the life breath returned to the child’s body and he revived.  Taking the child, Elijah brought him down into the house from the upper room and gave him to his mother.  Elijah said to her, “See! Your son is alive.”  The woman replied to Elijah, “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God.  The word of the LORD comes truly from your mouth.”  1 Kings 17:22-23

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.   For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.  Galatians 1:11-12

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!”  Luke 7:12-14


Our piety is meant to be like the piety of Jesus.  His piety gives life to the only son of the widow of Nain.  I often ask myself why he brought the boy back to life.  The answer could be filial piety.  What he would not be able to do for his mother in his own dying, he would do for this woman.  He gives her back her son.  There are no accidents with the Lord.  His being there gives us a wonderful reflection of his love for his own mother when he does for the widow what he would not be able to do for his mother.  His destiny would not save her from suffering.  She would accompany him in his dying.  She would be companion of his leaving life even as she was companion to his entering life. 


We look at the story of Elijah praying back life to the son of the widow of Zarephath.  This woman took care of him during the famine asked help of Elijah because of what she had done for him.  Christ would offer help to a stranger who he seemed not to have known.  How we reach out to our friends and family makes sense by itself.  How we are challenged by the way Christ reached out to the Widow has a partial answer in how we help to bury the dead by our going to funerals and wakes.  The Corporal works of mercy make us reflections of Christ and teach us how we are to live a Christ life with others. 


Paul claims his preaching as what he was taught by the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Our living the gospel measures how well we live the life of Christ in our day and age.  We are called to be his presence and to relive his actions by the way we reach out to each other.  In this time when we are so aware of senseless slayings of the babies of abortion and the victims of war and other crimes, we need to offer life by our prayers and works of mercy.   Helping to take care of the sick and the dying is a Corporal Work of Mercy.   Our love can bring healing of mind, soul and sometimes even of body.  The Corporal Works of mercy teach us how to live like Christ.

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