Tuesday, May 31, 2016

10th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Life from death.  As Christians we’re all familiar with the Passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus, and how this act of loving sacrifice revealed God’s power over death itself.  While this may be the most significant story of resurrection, it is not the only story of resurrection in the Bible.  In fact, as we go through this Sunday’s readings, we see that resurrection of the dead is one of the more important threads that runs through all of our Holy Scriptures.

1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13
Galatians 1:11-19
Luke 7:11-17

Our first reading from 1st Kings is one of the more significant resurrection stories in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is the story of how the great prophet Elijah raised a widow’s young son from the dead.  It is a time of famine in the land, and the leaders of Judah blame Elijah, so he has fled North and finds himself living with Zarephath, a widow, who also has a young son.  During his stay the widow’s son becomes severely ill and dies.  She knows Elijah is a man of God and believes he has done this to call attention to her guilt.  Elijah takes the boy, lays him out, and prays to God to bring life back to the boy.  The Lord hears Elijah’s prayer;  the boy’s life is restored and the widow knows that the Lord speaks the truth through Elijah.  This saving power of God is echoed in our Psalm as we sing “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.”

Our Gospel from Luke gives us a similar resurrection story.  Here we see Jesus and his Apostles entering the city of Nain, a small city in lower Galilee (60 miles north of Jerusalem, and 5 miles southeast of Nazareth).  As they approach they come upon a funeral party exiting the city.  A widow is about to bury her only son.  Taking pity, Jesus touches the coffin and raises her son.  Those present see the power of God that Jesus carries within him, and news of this miracle begin to spread.

Our second reading, as is typical in Ordinary Time, isn’t necessarily selected to complement the theme of the first reading and the gospel.  Now and for the next five weeks we will be going deeper into a study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  This week’s passage, from the beginning of his letter, Paul is giving them his back-own story as a way of building credibility with the community.  He wants the Galatians to see that the message he brings is not his own, but that of the Lord’s.  Though not intentional it could be said that this is also a resurrection story:  The salvation of Paul.

Final thoughts:
With Easter and our special Solemnities now behind us, we begin to settle in to our long Summer stretch of Ordinary Time.  All the different Liturgical Seasons have a special theme or emphasis to focus our attention, and it’s no different with Ordinary Time.  Summer is a time to slow down from our usual activities.  Especially for those who are in school, or have school aged children, it’s a time for us to reflect back on the previous academic year, and make preparations for the Fall and the new academic year to come.  Similarly, the Church takes this time to slow down to reflect on the life and mission of Jesus, literally walking with him and the Apostles through their travels.  During this time we get to focus more deeply on his teachings in preparation for the Advent that is to come.

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