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[90] Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs 17:17-24 / Psalm 30 / 2 Gal 1:11-19 / Lk 7:11-17

The response to our psalm is “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.” When we look at the Latin, what we are actually saying is that we “exult” or “raise up” the Lord for excising us, extracting us, literally getting us out of the fix we were in, rescuing us. Jesus will literally be raised up on the Cross so that we might know mercy and life. God keeps his promise to save us.

Elijah as has a hard time of it. When things go wrong, people blame the messenger. Elijah enters the house of a widow with a sick child. Her son dies and she immediately blames the prophet for killing him. “Why have you done this to me, O man of God?” She feels that his presence attracted god’s attention to her sins or unworthiness. It is like a spot or stain; it shows up most against a white or immaculate backdrop. The Jews felt that physical maladies or death signified a curse from God. This woman feels that the prophet’s presence forced God’s hand in allowing her son to die. Elijah takes the boy to an upper room and implores God to spare the child’s life. He does something physically that we might view as odd. He stretches himself three times over the child as he prays for the breath of life to be returned. While the Old Testament author would not have seen the connection, Christians often associate the number three with the Trinity or the three points of the upper Cross. What is the prophet doing? He is literally placing his life on the line. He is begging God who is looking down to see him in place of the boy. If someone has to die, he is pleading let it be him. The boy is healed and he takes him to his mother. Now, instead of condemning the prophet, she joyfully announces, “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God. The word of the Lord comes truly from your mouth.”

We see a parallel with the Gospel reading where our Lord restores a young man to life and gives him to his widowed mother. Luke gives us various details to pull the heartstrings of readers. Throughout we know the Lord was about more than physical healing, but also the healing of the soul. While God spares the son in both these readings, to do so he surrenders his own Son on the Cross. The prophet who stretched himself over the dead boy did not have his life taken, but Jesus stretches himself on the Cross, not just over this one son or the other, but over the whole world. He dies that we might live. The widowed mother in the Gospel had lost everything. It was a man’s world. She had neither a husband nor a son to care for her. She had lost the love of her life and her heart was broken. Jesus stops the funeral procession and tells her not to weep. This is not dissimilar from when he appears to the apostles after his resurrection and tells them not to be afraid. Sorrow will become joy. Despair will be replaced by hope. Jesus saves two lives, the mother and the son. My DRE has suggested that Jesus pitied her because he saw something of his Mother in her situation. Mary was also a widowed mother and soon she would lose her Son. “A great prophet has arisen in our midst! God has visited his people!”

While not strictly connected to the other readings, Paul’s epistle to the Galatians acknowledges that God has given him special insight. While he prided himself as the Jew’s Jew; he has undergone a conversion to Christ and submitted to three years of religious formation in the Church. Last week we had his second epistle to the Corinthians where he gave us the narrative of the Lord’s Supper. But such was more than history or Christ’s words; these were also his words— the ritual he had received in Antioch and the manner by which as a bishop-priest (apostle) he offered the Eucharist. He took what he had received and he offered it to others. He went to Jerusalem and conferred with Kephas (ROCK or PETER) and James, the bishop of Jerusalem. Paul was part of the Church established by Christ, the Catholic Church.

One Response

  1. One of the earliest and most powerful miracles of St. Martin of Tours was his laying upon the corpse of an acolyte who’d died the previous day, praying for some time, and the deceased coming back to life during the gradually during that day.
    There are several similar examples in Church history.

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