This reflection was taken from Sept. 17, 2013 (I’m getting a bit closer to the current date…)
“The dead man sat up and began to speak…” Did he say anything in particular? I mean, did he sound surprised or anything, or did he just start talking about what he had for dinner yesterday?
Well, whatever he did say–maybe he was just jabbering with astonishment, I know I probably would be–today’s Gospel goes to show what Jesus is truly capable of. It shows that he really can restore life to the dead.
When you think about it, who knows how long this guy had been dead? He could easily have started decomposing, and he may have even smelled.
He was almost certainly as cold as death. And inevitably, it took something–injury, sickness, you name it–to kill him in the first place; something that needed to be repaired. But with nothing more than a touch to the coffin and a few words, his bodily life was restored, and he lived again.
Try to imagine how the mother–a widow, who also would’ve been childless but for her son’s resurrection–must have felt; put yourself in her position. Imagine the joy, to see her son move and speak again!
Unless, of course, she was my mother (just kidding). But now, put yourself in the position of the son. Imagine the joy he must have felt. Since the gates of Heaven were still closed at that point, I don’t know where he would have been; but at any rate, he wouldn’t have been in Heaven, so living, breathing, seeing his loved ones, and jabbering, would have been an immense thrill.
Now, this brings to mind a couple points. Get comfortable.
First, we should treat every new day as though we are given new life–as though our very wakefulness is like being raised from the dead. If we try that, it’ll give us a whole new appreciation of our very existence. I mean, imagine being where that guy was. Wherever it was, it probably wasn’t his next life. Maybe he didn’t even go anywhere–maybe in the blink of an eye, he just found himself emerging from a coffin. I really couldn’t tell you. All I can tell you is that we should try to envision that in the morning, and perhaps give us a new thankfulness of our lives. Who knows–maybe it would even make us want to get up when we hear the alarm clock.
Second, if we look forward with faith and hope, and abide by God’s Will in our mortal lives, then we too will feel the thrill of our own resurrection. First, our souls will be raised to new life–life in the full and eternal presence of Christ, an elation so profound that it can’t even be described; and then–as if that weren’t enough–God will not only raise up, but glorify our bodies, and we’ll have those too, and get to feel once more our own breaths and heartbeats. We’re so used to those things now that, unless we have some sort of illness, we usually don’t even notice them. Since there supposedly is no time in Heaven, I don’t know how long it’ll take between when our souls and our bodies are reunited; but even if it only seems like a few minutes, I’d like to bet it will be quite an exhilarating feeling to have our physical bodies back in place–and in a far better way than they ever were before.
Okay, so now imagine how Jesus felt. Imagine being him, right after he just raised somebody from the dead. Even for him, that’s not something that happens every day; it’s not something that’s going to get old. Picture, for example, being a doctor, and managing to save your patient’s life. It’d feel great, wouldn’t it? Well, imagine restoring your patient’s life. Without charging some exorbitant fee. Just out of the goodness of your heart, waking them up from what would normally be considered an eternal sleep.
Jesus is actually going to feel even more than that. Not only does he also know exactly how the mother and son are going to feel, but that man is Jesus’s child as much as he is the widow’s. Also, Jesus loves him more–infinitely more–than the mother could ever imagine; and that mother probably loves him a lot.
He doesn’t think of us as faces in the crowd, or strangers he’s never met; he thinks of each and every one of us as his own child. So try to visualize the joy he would have felt–both in his own heart, and knowing the hearts of the mother and son. You can picture the big smile he’d have on his face.
So let’s never allow the hope of new life, and the appreciation of our own current lives, out of our sights. And let’s not forget who gives us those hopes and appreciations. God never had to create us; but he knew–and knows–us in his heart; he loves us, and he wants us to have the opportunity of living and of doing good–in other words, doing his Will. He doesn’t wish that because he wants us to be his slaves; if he’d wanted that, he never would’ve given us free will in the first place. He wants us to come to him willingly, through love and respect, so that we can one day live with him in eternal joy.
by Cameron Daly