June 5, 2016
The first reading picks up as Elijah is running for his life because he has been preaching about the true God in opposition to the pagans who have been emphasizing the worship of pagan gods and idols.
Elijah has found shelter with a pagan widow and her son who has died. It is interesting to note that a widow without a husband and without a son was cast out into the streets with nothing and had to beg for their subsistence.
In the reading, the widow has lost her only son and Elijah is moved with compassion and prays to God for healing.
Imagine the great joy of the window had when Elijah raises the son back to life and gives him to the his mother, the widow.
Many times we don't realize how often God brings us back to life, spiritual life, as he forgives our sins, our failures. again and again.
The readings always come for each of us to raise us up from the death of sin and to give us eternal life.
In the Gospel we hear a similar story about a widow. Again a window has lost her only son to death. Jesus, moved with great compassion, steps forward as the casket passes and says, "Young man, I tell you, arise!"
In that moment, the widow has hope again for herself, that she will not be on the streets, and that she now has her once dead son, brought back to life.
Imagine the great joy that she, and as we also hear, the great joy that the crowd had in seeing this miracle that Jesus has performed.
Why were the widows in the two stories in a position where they could have lost their sons and their lives would have completely change for the worst?
In the second reading, Paul is writing to this Christian community Galatians who have been persuaded by converted Jews that have insisted on telling them they must observe all the mosaic laws. Paul must have been in that same place where most of us have been, wondering why bad things happen to good people and Paul has experienced the answer.
He tells them how God has worked in his own life, in the ups and especially in the downs, the things that seem to be, from a worldly point of view, bad, are seen by Paul's experience, of how God brings about good.
Because of the suffering and death of Christ-seemed bad the resurrection of Jesus Christ, no matter what happens to us, gives us the option of our sins being forgiven and eternal life, the ultimate good.
by Franciscan Fr. Greg Friedman