Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - June 5, 2016

First Reading Commentary
In our life of serving God, we often do not understand why God allows things that seem hurtful or disastrous to us.  Certainly the death of a loved one is a time of extraordinary grief.  It is during these times that we are susceptible to think that God has abandoned us or perhaps is punishing us for some sin of our own doing. 

Saint Augustine says that the widow in this Reading is convinced that punishment presupposes an offense.  But like Lazarus, this son’s death was for the revelation of the greater glory of God.  Elijah’s tone exhibits complete confidence in God.  Elijah stretching out three times upon the child prefigures the Most Holy Trinity.  This stretching out also intimates cooperation with God by warming the child.  This posture also prefigures the condescension of Jesus in taking upon Himself our human nature in order to give us life.  It is in witnessing this miracle that the widow has a thorough conversion experience.

Second Reading Commentary
Saint Paul writes about his former way of life as a Pharisee.  The Pharisees prided themselves for having great zeal for the ancient traditions.  Paul says that his zeal was above the norm, above that of his contemporaries.  This is a wonderful personality type to be granted from God the grace of conversion.  For as we all know, Paul took that great zeal of his and applied it to his conversion experience and led others to conversion and strengthened many in the Christian faith.  But Saint Paul tells us that his conversion did not come by the usual means: the grace of the Holy Spirit received through other human instruments.  No, his came through a revelation of Jesus Himself.  Such a revelation is perhaps why Paul did not immediately consult with the other apostles.  He spent three years proclaiming the word of God before consulting with Peter.  Paul was very confident because of our Lord’s direct revelation to him, and as Saint John Chrysostom tell us, it was out of respect for Saint Peter that he visited him.
Gospel Commentary
Nain is part of Galilee and is a couple of miles from Mount Tabor.  The Venerable Bede teaches us that it is no accident a large crowd is present to witness this remarkable miracle.  This clearly is the work of Divine Providence.  This deceased man is being carried out of the city because the burial places were out of the precincts of the city.  There was a multitude of people following this funeral procession and there was also a multitude following Jesus; and it was our Lord’s intention that they would meet together to witness what He was about to do. 

Jesus raises this man from the dead by His own power and by His own command: “Young man, I tell you, arise!”  There is only one Voice that can be heard by the dead, and that Voice is the Voice of God, as Jesus is One and the Same. 

Saint John’s Gospel tells us what Jesus said concerning this: “Amen, I say to you, the hour comes and now is, when the dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God; and they who hear shall live” (John 5:25).  Jesus, unlike Elijah in the First Reading, is the Voice which speaks to the dead.  Elijah is a voice who calls out for help to the One Who has the only Voice which the dead can hear. 

Unlike the dead, we hear many voices; and it is often the loudest or most persistent voices that get our attention.  Those voices, however, do not have the words of everlasting life.  For this reason time must be given to the interior life where the Voice of God speaks not to the ears but to the heart; not in shouts but in gentle whispers; not in deception but in love and truth.