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Faith Daily | 13 September 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p581

O God,

without you we are not able to please you:

mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit

may in all things direct and rule our hearts;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 7: 11-17

11Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” 15The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” 17This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.


The widow of Nain

This miracle, recounted only in the Gospel of Luke, is the first of the three times Jesus is recorded as restoring someone to life (the others are the daughter of the leader of the synagogue in Capernaum and the raising of Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha in Bethany).

The widow is the key person in this account, rather than the young man her son. In 1st century Israel, as in many cultures today, her situation was desperate. Her son was her only support in life, the breadwinner but also the justification for her life, in the eyes of her village. Even today, in Arab countries, women take their name from their sons, just as here we take our surnames from our fathers or husbands. I would be “Um David”, “mother of David”, and that would be my identification and reason for existence. So the death of her only son was truly a catastrophe for the widow; in a world without any social security, she would become a beggar on the fringes of society, or, at best, a dependent in the household of a brother.

Jesus saw the scene and took instant compassion on her. Which of course raises the question, for me as for many, why does Jesus not take similar compassion on people who suffer similar loss and grief today? Jesus did not offer the widow words of compassion or support; he restored her son to life. Yet families today, faced with the death of only sons or daughters, mothers or fathers of young children, carers and breadwinners, are left with the question “where are you God?”

For me, this is the BIG question I have for God: “Why do you heal so few and leave so many in grief, to cope as best they can?” The answer for Job in the Old Testament was: “I am God; my ways are far greater than you can understand.” But we have the words Jesus said to his disciples “Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1).

FINAL PRAYER Kate Compston (and adapted)

Listen to the stories, dreams and thoughts

of those who have no voice.

They’re wounded for the want

of being listened to:

they cry

and too few hear:

they slowly die

and too few mourn.

And yet

through these who give attention,

who stretch both hands

to touch, embrace, receive;

through these who labour, claim their dignity

and drink the cup of suffering,

breathe winds of change

and earth their dreams in struggle,

healing comes

and there are seeds of hope:

there is tomorrow

germinating in today.

Be still.

Be just –

sharing in their truth,

and in the truth we belong to in Him.

In finding them,

through the Christ,

you find yourself.


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