(Luke 7: 11-17) Throughout the Gospels, we repeatedly see how much Jesus cared for the most vulnerable of His day – widows, orphans, women, children, the poor and the sick. In this week’s Gospel, He and His disciples encounter a widow who has just lost her only son. But rather than simply passing by, Jesus takes this opportunity to reveal the very personal kind of love that God has for each of us. Knowing that the widow will now have no one to support, defend, and protect her, Jesus has “compassion for her” and miraculously brings the young man back to life (Lk 7:13). We don’t know the full story, especially what was in the woman’s heart – perhaps such loss would have caused her to despair. But the Lord knows precisely what we need in such moments – a reason to hope.
And that’s where each of us comes in. Perhaps this event had less to do with Jesus performing a miracle and more to do with those who were in attendance – His disciples and a large crowd of witnesses. It had less to do with restoring the young man’s life, than with restoring his mother’s hope. Jesus clearly wanted to teach them – and us – something with His words and actions, something that He wanted us to imitate. Christ chose this moment to demonstrate His compassion, to show us how we must approach people who we’d sometimes rather avoid.
The grieving, the sad, and the lonely in society need our understanding and compassion, to know that someone cares about what they are going through. Compassion is not a superficial emotion – not merely “feeling sorry” for someone. It literally means “to suffer with” another and calls for an active response where we reach out in concrete ways. We often become so busy and caught up in our own lives that we fail to recognize when someone around us is hurting. As Jesus’ followers, we are called to be His light to the world. On this journey of life, Christ wants us to accompany one another – to be His hands to comfort, His words to console – “not wishing that any should perish” (2 Pet 3:9). Sometimes the only miracle that we need is to see that we are not alone, that there’s someone beside us to help carry the load. And that is when we can begin to hope.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.” 1 Corinthians 12:26
– Kelley Holy