Shortly after the cure of the Centurion’s servant, Jesus again left Capernaum and traveled with His disciples into southern Galilee. A large number of others went with Him. Two days of leisurely travel brought them to Naim, a small town on the northwest slope of Little Hermon, abourt eight miles south of Nazareth. As they approached the gates of the village, a funeral procession was coming out, on its way to the village burial ground, which was located about ten minutes walk from the town. Rabbinic regulations provided·that bypassers encountering a funeral procession should stop and accompany the mourners to the grave, and Jesus and His followers duly halted and awaited the approach of the cortege, which included a large group of the townspeople. The laments must have been unusually keen, for the deceased was but a young man, and his death had left his mother, a widow, alone in the world.
As the procession began to pass Jesus, He went up to the mother, who was sobbing with grief, and said to the woman compassionately:
“Do not weep.”
Then, instead of following on behind with the other mourners, He came to the bier and laid His hand upon it. Obeying His unspoken command, the bearers halted and put down the bier. And Jesus spoke to the shrouded corpse, saying:
“Young man, I say to thee, arise.”
Instantly, the young man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus returned the youth to his mother, who ran to embrace him with outstretched arms.
For a moment those who stood about were silent and fearful because of the tremendous spectacle they had witnessed. Then they began to rejoice and shout the praises of God, saying: “A great prophet has risen among us; God has visited His people.” Soon the story of this great miracle of Jesus had spread through all of Judea and the surrounding regions.
Meditation: Showing Himself to be the absolute Master of life, Our Lord with a word gave life back to the dead body. For this tremendous exercise of divine power Christ’s motive was compassion, sympathy for a widowed mother who had just lost her son. Human kindness, a real concern for the afflictions of another, prompted Christ to work one of His greatest miracles. What concern do I have for the afflictions of those around me?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 65-66. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.