Jesus’ Compassion

Luke 7:11-17
1Cor 12:12-14,27-31a / Psa 100

When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.”
(Luke 7:13)

Like Jesus Who showed His mercy
When He met a grieving widow,
Let more than words of sympathy
Move us to help those in sorrow.

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a large crowd went along with Him. As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.” Then He went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. (Luke 7:11-17)

Reflection

Jesus had just healed the Centurion’s slave, and a crowd of admirers and His disciples were following Him in a jubilant mood as they entered another town called Nain. Coming from the opposite direction was another procession of people, but their mood was the exact opposite, for they were mourners, carrying the dead body of a widow’s only son for burial outside the town. This dramatic encounter between merriment and mourning is an account found only in the Gospel of Luke, and only he can evoke some inspired thoughts for reflection.

First of all, the sight of the grieving widow who had lost her only son must have brought our Lord Jesus to remember His own mother, Mary, who at that time was already a widow, and being omniscient, He knew she would also be undergoing the same tormenting grief over His own death on the cross, which was forthcoming. This was why He was so moved with pity for the widow, that even without being asked, He raised the young man back to life and handed him over to his mother.

His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.” Jesus has taught us the virtue of showing our compassion to those who need it most. Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I went to the wake of a cousin, a widow who passed away at the age of 70 years, leaving seven daughters and 18 grandchildren. Although they are not really in financial straits, my wife felt compassion for them and asked me to give some “abuloy.” Fortunately, I still had a thousand pesos in my wallet. More than flowers, money helps. But prayers are the most important for relatives and friends who have lost their loved ones, because God’s consoling grace can fill the void left by their passing away.

He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep” (Luke 7:13). During those days, a widow who loses her only son loses her only means of staying alive. She might as well be on the way to the grave herself. Our Lord’s act of compassion tells us that in times when we can no longer help ourselves, our God will come to save us, even if we don’t ask for His help. And nothing is impossible for God – even the dead can be brought back to life. If our Lord could show compassion to those who did not even know Him, how much more for us who believe in Him as our Father when we plead for His mercy? Let us heed the writer in the book of Hebrews who said, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

Lord God, we are thankful and always celebrate the gift of life; but inevitably, death comes, and often at unexpected moments. Grant us the grace to always be prepared for this eventuality, and like our Lord Jesus, to be ready to show our compassion to the bereaved. Amen.

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