Raising of the dead man of Nain


Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 444/ Lk 7:11-17

In Jesus’s miracles, many times looking at all of the details is important in gaining the greatest understanding of the particular event. In the raising of the dead man of Nain there is a good number of subtle details. To read the story in reverse order for instance, the people glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”and “God has visited his people.” To reword things, the people recognise Gods presence and greatness due to Jesus action. That action is he brought life back to them. They also exclaim that “a great prophet is amongst us.” In Judaism a prophet is one who speaks the word of God, one who has contact with the divine. Through his preaching the word of God, and his connection to God, Jesus brings life back not only to the man but to his mother (Jesus brought back her son and gave him back to her) and to the multitude of people that were accompanying him.While it was the man that sits up in the coffin,is it hard to see that life itself was brought back to many, to all that accompanied him? One small detail that is included is that Jesus touched not the man, but his coffin; he touched what contained death and what contains death can be left to the readers imagination. I don’t think that to say the culture of the day was an harbor of death is unrealistic, in many ways it did put constraints on life and was not always respectful of it (the Roman Empire was punctuated with an abundance of crucifixes). Another symbol of this changing of culture, that is, the acceptance of Jesus message ; is that the funeral party was marching out of the city as Jesus and his disciples were marching towards it. It is reminiscent of the changing of the guards at a palace gate ! The changing from Old to New Testaments. As I think of this contrast between  the death of the funeral party and the life restored by Jesus; I can’t help but see that same contrast between our current “culture of death” versus Jesus’s ever present “culture of life.” The story of the raising of the man from Nain tells of how Jesus restores life to people. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he also wishes that the disciples continue that same mission. He recognises that the body of Christ, expressed in the Church, have the duty as disciples to do as Christ did; and that is “bring life” to community. Paul recognises that each individual within a community have been given unique gifts, he also recognises that these gifts should be used in continuing Christ’s mission. While Paul names many roles people might take, he recognises that each member should strive to find their particular gift and use it in the greatest way possible; to continue Christs mission.,and continue that march towards the kingdom…

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