Lydia Cristini


Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 5, 2016
1 Kings 17.17-24 | Psalm 30 | Galatians 1.11-19 | Luke 7.11-17
May 30, 2016

As someone who is fairly well acquainted with death, stories of Jesus bringing people back to life do not sit well with me. Perhaps it is because of a rash of deaths in the lives of several friends in the last six months.

Perhaps it is because I would like to see people I love, again, even though they are long dead. Perhaps it is because they remind me of old hurts in my faith and prayer life when my 21-year-old friend died of cancer, despite a year's worth of prayers from many, many faithful people across our country.

Yet, when I look at these miracles logically, they should not bother me. In fact, this story is one of compassion.

Jesus was moved by the widow's grief and brought her son back to life so he could be with her and care for her. But, the selfish part of me jealously wonders why God did not spare the lives of my loved ones (or those of my friends).

You have turned my mourning into dancing. - Psalm 30.11

'You have turned my mourning into dancing.'

Psalm 30.11

However, as usual, I am probably looking at this from the wrong angle. As my colleague often says, Jesus performed his acts of healing for an important reason: to show he could forgive sins.

If physical ailments are seen as a result of sinfulness (as they were in ancient Israel), then Jesus saying "take up your mat and walk" is a physical sign of the earlier inner healing: "Your sins are forgiven."

These mini-resurrections could have had an equally symbolic deeper purpose. Perhaps they are meant to show us Jesus not only forgives sin, but he is also able to give eternal life.

So, instead of seeing these miracles through my own selfish, myopic lens, I can do my best to see them within the context of Jesus' entire life and mission.

Jesus' life was filled with mercy and compassion, and being moved by those who implored him for help. His mission had the salvation of the entire human race as its aim, not just the life of a widow's son or a girl's friend with cancer.

Even with this great aim, however, God does care about the details of our lives. If he is moved by the widow, our own sorrows and lives must move him as well.

His healing and transformative power, the power which heals a crippled man, brings a man back to life and transforms death on the cross into eternal life, can also heal and transform us.

With Jesus' help, perhaps we will be able to trust the healing he wants to bring into our lives, whether it heals our bodies or heals our souls.

Perhaps we will be able to trust in his providence and saving grace. The sorrow and grief which may have occurred during our comparatively brief time on earth will be outweighed by an eternal weight of glory when we are in heaven with God and the saints who have gone before us.