Friends, our Gospel today gives us Jesus’ raising of the son of the widow of Nain. This is a prime exemplification of the key Gospel truth that everything Jesus said and did, in one way or another, is an anticipation of his Resurrection. The God of Israel, the God of Jesus Christ, is a God of life, a God of the living. He hates death and the ways of death.

The death in today’s Gospel goes beyond the tragic loss of a loved one, as awful as that is. In the context of Jesus’ time and place, this is a disaster for the widow. There is no social safety net, no insurance, no guaranteed income. Unless she finds kindly neighbors who will support her, she is lost without her husband and, importantly, her “only son.” This is why the heart of Jesus is especially moved with pity.

Notice please that the reaction of the bystanders is fear. This is the fear that comes from the turning upside down of a world. This is also the reaction of the women at the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. An evangelization that isn’t a little scary is an inadequate evangelization.

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