The Raising of the Son of the Widow of Nain: Life Intersects Death

In the gospel reading for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, we read of the raising of the only son of a widow in a town called Nain. It is interesting to note that we read of two processing groups of people. These processions contrast greatly.

The first procession is led by and centers around Jesus — he, his disciples, and a great crowd are moving to Nain. This procession is a procession of life and light. The second and contrasting procession is led by those bearing the dead body of the only son of a widow. This procession is one of death: they are bearing this young man to his grave. His mother, a widow, faces a “death of destitution” now that she has no support in life. The widow who conceived her son in the hidden, dark stillness of her womb now delivers him to the hidden, dark stillness of his tomb. (That tomb, though, will serve as a second “womb” in another day when he dies again. From this “womb” he will emerge in the new, eternal life of the resurrection.)

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