Monday, June 10, 2013

HOMILY Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C June 09, 2013

          In today’s readings we hear of two resuscitations of widow’s dead sons: one by Elijah, and one by Jesus.  Clearly there are similarities.  But there are also important differences.  Elijah intercedes for God to act.  It is rather dramatic:  Elijah called out to the LORD:  “O LORD, my God, will you afflict even the widow with whom I am staying
by killing her son?”    Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times
and called out to the LORD:  “O LORD, my God, let the life breath return to the body of this child.”   We are told simply: “The LORD heard the prayer of Elijah;”
          Jesus on the other hand does not call out to God.  Jesus acts on His own authority, as God.  He simply commands and it takes place.  We are told: “He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”      The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”
          In both these cases death is overcome, but only for a while.  These were temporary victories over death.  Both the son of the widow of Zarephath, and the son of the widow of Nain, would die again.  And so will we all.
          But the Lord Jesus is at work in our midst with even greater victories than these.  Jesus raises us from spiritual death, from sin and from leading a pointless, meaningless existence, to living gloriously as a member of His Body, doing His work on earth.  
          As St. Augustine of Hippo wrote long ago: “No Christian should doubt that even today the dead are being raised to life. Yet, while everyone has eyes capable of seeing the dead rise in the way the widow's son rose, as we have just heard in the gospel, the ability to see the spiritually dead arise is possessed only by those who have themselves experienced a spiritual resurrection.” 
          Right now, right here, the Risen Lord offers us greater life by dying to ourselves and coming to live for and in Him.  He frees us from the sin and selfishness that degrades us, and empowers us to live in dignity and glory as members of His Body: in service to others and in love of Him.  Through the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and the Eucharist Jesus raises us up, just as He raised up the son of the widow of Nain, to new life.  LIFE with purpose, with meaning, with dignity, with glory, with joy!  And we can see that happen here.  
 To continue to quote St. Augustine: “When the young man in the gospel was raised, his widowed mother rejoiced; when souls are daily raised from spiritual death, mother Church rejoices.”
          But that is not all.  What Jesus did in resuscitating the widow’s dead son is a pre-figurement, or a foreshadowing, a kind of hint and clue of what Jesus intends for all of us; which is not a mere resuscitation – as miraculous as that is – but something far more wonderful, far more enduring, far more miraculous: namely Resurrection from the dead. 
          Christ conquered death on Easter Sunday morning.  Now He yearns and longs to share that victory with all the members of His Body.  Joined to Him we too will be raised up to eternal LIFE

          Our hope in Jesus is VERY BIG; big as all eternity.  It is for nothing less than eternal life, resurrection life, in Him.  Alleluia!

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