My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
As always, every year, I’ve been asked to give a brief homily. So today, I think I’d rather skip the first reading, don’t you think?
Cause it’s about bishops and deacons, except for one thing: please pray for us!
Thanks be to God the passage of the Gospel is a beautiful, beautiful passage of the Gospel that we know well — the story of the widow at Nain.
It is always a powerful scene in the Gospel because it is so realistic, so human.
And it is filled with little details, probably we don’t have time to go through all of them — but if you think about what happens there, it’s just beautiful to see the humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ and how he was moved by the sorrow of that woman who lost her only child, a son who is all grown up but now has died. So we can understand this scene on a human level.
I think what is important — is that Our Lord enters into this human reality.
He is at the city gate when he sees this woman and the funeral procession. And he does not remain detached, looking from a distance. He stops. He draws near to the woman.
And the Gospel tells us:
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
Then he stepped forward and touched the coffin.
Two things that are very important for us, the first one is the fact that the woman is not looking for Jesus — but Jesus is looking for her. He meets her right where she is at — he comes to her when she is at her lowest point. And in his compassion — he lifts her up.
My brothers and sisters, this Gospel today is showing us who Jesus is. It is showing us how much he loves us, and how he wants to us, to be with us.
Jesus is always present, he is always passing by on this journey of our lives. And he’s always looking for an “opening” — looking for a “way in” — for a way to draw close to us.
So today, let us especially open our hearts and our lives to Jesus’ presence in our daily life.
And what is it that Jesus wants?
Just what he did in the passage of the Gospel. He pronounced those beautiful words: “I tell you, arise!”
This is what Jesus wants for us too — Resurrection! A new heart, a new beginning. These are the gifts of Our Lord’s mercy and forgiveness.
But then at the same time, as we open our hearts and our lives to Jesus we have also to reflect that we are called to “be Jesus” to those who weep.
We are called to look upon this world with compassion, with the eyes of Christ. Like Jesus, we need to bring hope and new life to those who are suffering, to those who are lost and afraid.
There is a beautiful line in this Gospel. It says: “And Jesus gave him to his mother.”
So Jesus wants to be with us, we are called to “be Jesus” for everybody else, and then Jesus gives us his mother, Our Blessed Mother.
So today, let us especially ask Mary Our Blessed Mother for her intercession, that we all really be open to Jesus coming to our lives, be open also to “be Jesus” for others, and to have the powerful intercession of Mary Our Blessed Mother in our lives.
1. Readings (Tuesday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time): 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Luke 7:11-13.