The gospel reading today said a lot about how the Lord views his children. Jesus is not an administrator or strategist in his relationship with us. He loves us.
“As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; ….and when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” And he came and touched the bier, and said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. (Luke 7:11-15)
In the midst of his magnificent ministry of conquering sin, death and the devil, with everything on his mind, he sees a poor widow and has compassion on her. She is the most important thing on his mind, and he says to her, “do not weep”. It’s a beautiful image of how important we are to the Lord. Jesus is touched by our tears and our suffering.
I believe one of the most devastating thoughts that can plague us in our trials is to think that God does not care… that God is absent, that God has more important things to do than to worry about our trivial problems. Two voices come to our ears…one is “shut up, sit down, and stop complaining”… a devastating thought. The other voice is “do not weep”… coupled with a compassionate touch of healing. One thought comes from the pits of hell, the other comes from the heart of our loving savior. One thought leads to despondency and despair, the other to hope and joy and promise.
Today St. John Chrysostom reflects on this passage and says, “ Therefore most beloved by God be lifted above these tumults and billowing waves and do not give yourself over to the tyranny of despair…you can do it…consider that the sorrowful things of this present life are altogether passing away. If the gate is narrow and the way is hemmed in, still it is a way. Meditating upon these things within yourself, most beloved by God, throw off this heavy burden of despondency.” (St. John Chrysostom, Magnificat 9-13-22)
From exile St. John Chrysostom wrote these letters of comfort to his friends… “all things will certainly turn out, whether in this life or the life to come”. (ibid)
I would say the same to my friends, “things will certainly turn out, whether in this life or the life to come.” So take heart my friends, the Lord is with us. Do not weep. Christ loves us and all will be well with our soul. What good news.