A HOMILY FOR THE TENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 6/5/16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We’ve all come upon this same scene before. Maybe you’re driving down the road and you pull over for a funeral procession to pass by. Or maybe you’re going past a church just as a funeral is ending and they are carrying the casket out to the hearse. Or maybe you drive by a cemetery and you can see the family huddled by the graveside, under a make-shift tent, saying their final goodbyes. And no matter what part of the scene that you observe, running into any part of a funeral, in the middle of ordinary daily life, makes you think, and makes you feel many emotions. Maybe it makes you glad that that’s not you, burying someone that you love. Or maybe it makes you remember a time when you did have to bury someone that was a big part of your life. Or maybe it makes you think about the day when your loved ones, and family, and friends, will be burying you! Who will be there? What will they say about you on that day? Who will grieve you when you are gone? What will they do with my clothes after I am gone? Have you ever thought about that one? I think about that. Most people, you just take the clothes to Goodwill. What do you do with priest’s clothes? Can you imagine taking a bunch of clergy shirts to Goodwill?
Today, Jesus runs into this funeral procession just outside of the city of Nain. And it is a sad scene. The man who died was young, and was the only son of a widowed mother. For everyone who saw this particular scene, and knew the situation, what they realized was that this might as well have been a funeral for the mother too. There were no benefits. There were no pension funds. There were no insurance plans, or government programs, or social security for this poor woman. As she buries her son, she buries the only future that she had too. This is a devastating situation! It’s no wonder that people were so shaken up by it, and moved with emotion. Even Jesus, a passerby, a stranger witnessing this sad scenario totally by chance, is moved with pity, for He knows the hardship that this death will bring. And in one of His most powerful miracles, Jesus raises the young man up and gives him back to his mother! Can you imagine the joy and happiness? The sadness and devastation of the death of this young man is suddenly completely changed over to joy and astonishment!
This Gospel account is so extremely important because it so shows only too well how much our God cares about our losses. So many times, when we lose loved ones, the first place our thoughts go to, is that God doesn’t care, that if God really cared this wouldn’t be happening to us. That’s not true. And that’s not the way that this life works. Death is part of life, thanks to our sin. God has conquered death on the Cross, but we’re still going to have to go through it. We are going to die. Our loved ones are going to die. Famous, talented, gifted people are going to die. And everybody else is going to die too. The Good News, as revealed in this Gospel text, is that our God cares about every one of us. He is moved with pity. He knows that death is not natural to who we created to be. And He knows the devastation that death can cause. Make no mistake about it, God’s care and concern are with each one of us in our losses. He might not show up to raise up our loved one in the middle of the funeral possession. But He does want all of us to know that He has a better plan!
We’ve got to know how much our God cares. Jesus understands. This miracle proves that Jesus is still in charge even when it comes to death! Knowing this, this has got to help us to understand, and to be more compassionate, more caring, especially towards those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. In this Year of Mercy, we remember that one of the corporal acts of mercy is to care for the grieving. How many grieving people just like the Widow of Nain, don’t get their loved ones back, but now God entrusts them to us to care for them, to love them, and to help them get by, until we are all united again in the Kingdom of God.
Thanks to Jesus, funerals are not the end of the story. We’ve got to remember that every day. We’ve got to remember and imitate His compassion. We are going to run into funerals while we’re in this world. Jesus and our Faith helps us to keep them in their proper perspective!
+God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
- Maria Goretti… Pray for us!!!