Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I Kings 17:17-24
I have three pennies to give away, who would want one? (Give pennies away) I noticed that not many of you wanted a penny. Pennies, they are only worth 1 cent, we cannot buy much with just one. Would it have made a difference, if I told you that one of those pennies, might be worth about $33.00? Now you are re-thinking your decision of not raising your hand. I wonder, if we don’t do the same thing in regards to our faith when difficult times come. How do we get through times of profound disappointment and grief? Do we use our faith, to help us? Our readings today help us to understand how to use our faith in desperate times.
In our first reading, Elijah the prophet has been staying with a Gentile woman and her son. Remember the story, of the widow and her son, who only have a bit of flour and oil, they are going to eat it and then starve because they have nothing else. This is the family, and Elijah has stayed true to his promise from God that they would have enough food. When the son dies, the woman cries out, “Why have you done this to me, is this to call attention to my guilt?” Elijah is confused by her remarks, because he is convince that God led him to be with them. Elijah does not have a plan, but he has faith, he knows he cannot help this child, but he knows by faith that God can. Elijah takes the son to an upper room, and pleads with God by saying, “O Lord, my God” and the breath of the Lord brings the son back to life. Elijah relies totally on God when in a difficult time.
In our Gospel, Jesus is entering the town of Nain with a large crowd around him and leaving the town at the same time is a large funeral crowd who is grieving the loss of an only son of his mother who was a widow. In the story, the crowds now seem to vanish, and all that is left is Jesus, the woman, and her dead son. Jesus only focus is this woman and he is filled with great compassion for her, because he knows she is now penniless, maybe homeless and she has no way of making a living for herself, she can only rely on the generosity of others. Jesus knows he can do something so he steps forward, touches the coffin, which would make him unclean, but he is not determined, and tells the young man, “to get up” and he does.
As we gather, we need to know that when Jesus hears of us in grief he will breathe new life into us. Are we willing to believe by faith, no matter how small our faith to believe that God is saying to us, “Allow me to give you new life?” May the Eucharist strengthen our faith to help us through our troubled times