Proper 5 – Year C

1 Kings 17:8-16(17-24); (or 1 Kings 17:17-24); Psalm 146 (or Psalm 30); Galatians 1:11-24; Luke 7:11-17

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

                We definitely have a hard time raising the dead from their coffins.  It is just not our forte.  There are reported cases of people having life after death experiences.  However, we know that there are pros and cons as to whether these are for real, or just some kind of psychological occurrence in our drugged brains.  In the Gospels we have three reports of Jesus raising the dead: the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5, also mentioned in Matthew 9 and Luke 8), Lazarus (John 11), and in today’s Gospel, the son of the widow of Nain.  These are all different from the resurrection of Jesus where he rose never to die again.  All three of these people had to wait for another day to die once more.  Now, we all know that a basic Christian teaching is that we are all called to carry on the ministry of Jesus.  Yet we are stymied by this raising of the dead thing.  We don’t seem to be able to pull off this kind of miracle.  However, if we look closely at all of the miracles of Jesus we see that time and time again it is mentioned that Jesus had compassion on the person.  This is pointed out in today’s Gospel in Luke 7:13.  What is at the heart of this story is not the spectacular opening of the coffin lid, but compassion.  Sometimes it seems like a miracle for us to have empathy for each other.  However, we are able to carry on Jesus’ ministry of compassion.  Our compassion is not to be thought feeble.  We are able to raise up those who are in the figurative death of depression, sadness, dejection or despair.  When we have compassion for these people we suffer with them, bringing angst to our souls, rending our hearts, only and for no other reason than that they are suffering.  We suffer with them; we bleed with them.  (see Greek below)  That is no less a miracle than the son of the widow of Nain sitting up in his coffin.

Greek

                The Greek word here (Luke 7:13) translated “compassion” (sometimes weakly translated pity or feel sorry) actually means “bowels.”  Therefore, to have compassion, literally in Greek, means to be moved in one’s bowels.  In their culture the bowels or guts were considered the seat of emotions.  Even the English word “compassion” means, when broken down, to suffer with, not just feel sorry for or not simply pity.

Haiku

Our inners disturbed

bleeding the storm of one’s life.

Rise up, live again.

 

 

Advertisements