SUFFERING MUST BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY
Jesus comes to Nain when a really sad event is going on in the village. Jesus is on the road, accompanied by his disciples and a great crowd. From the village comes a funeral procession heading to the cemetery. A widowed mother, accompanied by her neighbors, goes to bury her only son.
In few words, Luke has described for us the tragic situation of the woman. She’s a widow, without a husband to care for and protect her in that society controlled by males. She was left alone with just a son, but now he’s just died also. The woman says nothing. She just mourns her pain. What will become of her?
The meeting has been unexpected. Jesus came to announce the Good News of God in Nain also. What would be their reaction? According to the story, «the Lord saw her, felt sorry for her and said to her, ‘Don’t cry’». It’s difficult to find a better way of describing the Prophet of God’s compassion.
He doesn’t know the woman, but he looks at her steadily. He captures her pain and aloneness, and he’s moved to his very core. The dejection of that woman reaches deep inside him. His reaction is immediate: «Don’t cry». Jesus can’t stand to see someone crying. He needs to intervene.
He doesn’t stop to think twice. He draws near to the hearse, stops the funeral and says to the dead boy: «Young man, I tell you: get up». When the youth gets up and starts to talk, Jesus «gave him to his mother» in order to stop her from crying. Once again they are together. The mother will no longer be alone.
It all seems so simple. The story doesn’t insist in the prodigious aspect of what Jesus just did. It invites the readers to see in him the revelation of God as Mystery of compassion and Force of life, able to save even from death. It is God’s compassion that makes Jesus so sensitive to the people’s suffering.
In the Church we need to recover compassion as soon as possible as the way of life proper for Jesus’ followers. We need to rescue it from a sentimental and moralizing conception that has discredited it. Compassion that demands justice is Jesus’ great command: «Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate».
This compassion is today more needed than ever. From power centers, everything is taken into account except the victims’ suffering. It functions as if there haven’t been wounded people or losers. From Jesus’ communities we should hear a cry of absolute indignation: the suffering of the innocent must be taken seriously; it’s not acceptable socially as something normal, since it’s unacceptable for God. God doesn’t want to see anyone crying.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf