Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Luke 7:11-17

Gospel text for Sunday, June 6th

Soon after healing the centurion's slave, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother's only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, rise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has risen among us!" and "God has looked favorably on his people!" This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.

Questions for engaging the text:
- What do I observe" What am I seeing" Does this passage raise questions for me?
- Is anything attracting me, drawing my attention, or repulsing me?
-What response is emerging within me? What is my response to what is attracting me?***
-In what ways might I specifically act on my insights in the world

*** 1st three questions taken from The Art of Engaging Holy Scripture curriculum (see resources).
I really want to hear from you.
Thank you for clicking on "Comments" below and adding your responses. Debra


  1. I observe that a large crowd was following Jesus when they all saw a funeral procession. Everyone was watching as Jesus had compassion for the woman who had suffered two grievous losses, the deaths of her husband and her only son.

    I am attracted to Jesus’ sensitivity to the suffering and vulnerability of the woman. Jesus, the living God, is compassionate toward human suffering, toward my suffering. God is not distant, remote or indifferent. Jesus actively intervened to relieve the widow of her unbearable situation; Jesus raised the dead son and “gave him to his mother.” It seems to me that the resurrection was an act of compassion intended primarily for the benefit of the woman.

    I cannot help but wonder about all the widows whose sons Jesus did not raise from the dead. I cannot help but wonder about all the people who are suffering and for whom it doesn’t seem as if God is compassionate or actively interested in relieving their suffering. I am especially thinking about my neighbor who is suffering with cancer and whose mother is near death. Where are you in this Lord Jesus?

    And it occurs to me that I am to have compassion and love my neighbor, that I am to live in imitation of Christ. Let me hold the needs of my neighbor as dear to me as my own needs. Strengthen my will to act with compassion so that she may experience the light of Christ in my action.

    Now please let me hear your responses. Blessings, Debra

  2. I am touched as well by mention of the large crowds and the compassion that literally stops Jesus 'in his tracks' as he enters Nain. To me there is a symbolic juxtaposition of 'the crowds' with this one specific woman and son who capture Jesus' full attention. While on one hand it may seem as though the presence of the crowds is not the focus of the passage, they play a significant role, and one that I can't fully grasp. It is not mentioned that Jesus is even concerned with the fact that crowds of people follow and watch him, yet the end of the passage indicates that they are integral to his message being spread. However, I also think of how 'the crowds' are what lead Jesus to his eventual death. The difference between how they react to him now vs what is anticipated later in the gospel story catches my attention.
    Also the immediate cause-effect relationship of "Fear seized all of them, and they glorified God..." stands out.

    I definitely agree that compassion is key in this passage. I also sense a potential message regarding where one's attention is needed (on the more intimate and meaningful interactions in life rather than on 'the crowds' which are fickle and unreliable).