Study: Reflect on a time of grief and loss in your life. Where did you find support and strength?
Pray: Pause to consider those who are going through grief and hold them up in your daily prayers.
Serve: Do you know someone who is struggling with grief right now? Perhaps a visit or an act of kindness could make the day a little brighter.
Last October I was traveling through the Holy Land and I passed through the village where Jesus performed the miracle that is recounted in the Gospel today. I find it easy to imagine the situation: a group of people walking in procession with a widow as they carry her dead son out of the city. There is grief, terrible loss, and the sense that the entire community is mourning with this woman.
Then an encounter with Jesus. First he has pity, then he offers consolation, then a single word: arise!
In a moment everything changes. The Lord gives the man back to his mother, the procession is filled with fear and wonder, and God is praised.
We all know that death is a part of life. Like the seasons of the year, there are times for birth, growth, harvest, and death. Yet there are also times when death happens outside this cycle – in moments of tragedy, unforeseen illness, and accident – and our lives are turned upside down in a heartbeat.
In these moments when we are filled with questions, doubts, and uncertainty. And like the widow in today’s Gospel we can invite the Lord to draw near. The same pity, consolation, and hope is ours – Christ meets us in our weakness and with tender compassion he touches our hearts.
His love is empowered through the victory of his death and resurrection. His sacrifice on the Cross opens the gates of Heaven for us. For at the hour of our death we long to look upon Jesus who will say “Arise!” to us and welcome us to eternal life.
Perhaps you are dealing with grief in your life, or perhaps you are walking with someone in the midst of grief. The Gospel today gives us an opportunity to face death with the conviction of faith – this is not the end, but a new beginning with the Lord. May the pity, consolation, and mercy of Jesus help us to be tender with others in their grief, and may it help us to face the hour of our own death with trust in the Lord’s love.