The Blue Mountains Franciscan Church
ponderings on the sermon given by Br luke at Winmalee on Sunday 5th June
Third Sunday After Pentecost year C
Readings: 1 Kings 17:8-24; Luke 7:11-17
Last week Br Simeon spoke to us about “Faith” as we heard the story of the friendly Centurion.
This Sunday our readings tell stories of resurrection, the first of the only son of the Widow of Zarephath and the second of the widow of Nain’s son. In the ancient world single and divorced women depended on a benefactor, husband or son for protection and livelihood and both of these were bereft of these.
The giving back of life to these two young men is different in each case, in the first case we have been following the narrative of Elijah’s hiding from Jezebel in Zarephath, of Sidon where God had told a poor widow woman, on the verge of death from starvation to expect him. As we know the small amount of meal and oil that she had lasted right up until the promised rains in three years time.
Though the woman is not a believer in the Lord God of Israel she accepts that This is the One who spoke to her and that Elijah is his prophet, when her son sickens and dies she believes it is because some sins of hers have been found out, she blames the man of God.
How often does tragedy cause us to remember our sins as though we have brought pain or death upon another because of some forgotten sin of ours?
Elijah takes the child up to the upper room where he is staying and beseeches the Lord to heal him and he seems to perform a kind of resuscitation on the boy by leaning over him three times and breathing into his mouth until the Lord restores him to life.
The prophet had a close, if not intimate relationship with the Father because he cries‘O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?’He demands to know why god has done this. “The Lord listened to the voice of Elijah; the life of the child came into him again, and he revived”
Have we that kind of relationship with the Father that we can rail against Him and receive our answers in such a dramatic manner or dare we not be angry, or question God’s plan? It is part of a true relationship to question each other and to demand or ask for answers, but such a relationship with God is hardily won by prayer and meditation and trust.
The healing of the son of the widow of Nain is much different, there is not a narrative, it is on the way of Jesus’ travels, there is a crowd with him and they meet the bier coming out through the gate. Jesus is moved with compassion and touches the bier, he has no need to rail against the Father since he and the Father are One, he says “do not weep” and speaks to the young man “Young man, I say to you, rise!” who speaks when he is restored to life – a definite sign of life.
The result is that the crowd goes wild and noises about that a great prophet has come to town and God has looked favourably on his people just as he had looked favourably on the Sidonian woman in the time of Elijah.
Is it only when God does something really huge in the world or in our lives that we take notice of him? Do we see him in the little mercies of the Sun rise, a plate of food, do we relate to him everyday whether we need something or not or is it only in catastrophe that we rail against God to say “Why me!”
A great prophet came to town that day and even the dust mites beheld his majesty.