• 1 Kings 17:17-24 • Galatians 1:11-19 • Luke 7:11-17 • 10 Ordinary C ‘13 •
Print PDF: Weekly Homily 06.09.2013
Scripture Readings: Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The gospel text today reminds us that children die. We are fortunate that in recent decades vaccines, clean water and better nutrition have lowered general mortality rates. However violence still prowls our planet. Children die. Mothers weep.
Jesus saw the weeping mother. He went to her. He comforted her. Then he handed the child back to her. Luke employs this narrative to define the life and work of Jesus.
Luke wanted his Jewish community to associate all Jesus of Nazareth said and did with the coming of “the reign or kingdom of God.” He wants his readers to know Jesus is God’s anointed one in whom “God’s new reality” has burst forth among us
Jesus was a faithful Jew and spoke frequently with anticipation about “the reign of God” – that messianic era when God will restore the disadvantaged of our world. Unlike his peers he freely touched the dead because he trusted God’s creative love would free us of death’s grasp. He trusted death cannot be permanent and need not be feared. “The reign of God” – an era of transformation burst forth in him; God was and is restoring the original blessing of creation.
To understand this, please consider with me the five verses following the gospel proclaimed here today. In those verses Luke tells us John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “are you the one to come?
Jesus responded, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”
It is clear from this text that Jesus was deeply sensitive to the misery around him. His deep sensitivity also provides us a glimpse of what the Gracious Mystery we name God is like. God is not some abstract being in a place called heaven, separate from the cosmos. “God is love,” the love-energy expressing self in, through, and with the entire cosmic reality.
However, if Jesus is the Christ, and if the messianic age has burst forth among us, why do children still die violent deaths? Why do mothers still cry? Why does life remain under threat on a global scale?
Perhaps it is because we have not yet understood what it means to believe “God is love.” Perhaps it is because we have not yet understood what it means to believe all life is sacred.
When children die and mothers weep, we grieve and lament, we have prayer services, and we put up memorials. We do this when our children die and our mothers weep! But we seem far less sensitive when our drones and missiles fall from the sky on other lands and other peoples. When someone else’s child dies, and someone else’s mother weeps, we sedate our hearts, cook dinner and watch the sports channel.
Jesus was fully human. He was sensitive to the misery around him. When he sees a mother weep over the death of her son, he does not ignore it. He does not quietly resume living. He reacts by coming close to her sorrow. He reaches out to her as a brother, friend, and sower of peace and life. In him we see that God is not some abstract being in a place called heaven, separate from the cosmos. “God is love,” the love-energy expressing self in, through, and with the entire cosmic reality.
In this world where violence is still rampant, where children die and mothers weep, Luke invites us to imitate Christ. We see in him that to be human is to be sensitive to the suffering of others. As we become more like Christ, our sensitivity increases, God’s new reality emerges and surprise — the drones and the missiles, the death and the weeping will cease!