Hi everyone, here’s my homily for the 10th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – June 9, 2013. The readings for today can be found at . Excuse some of the grammatical errors/roughness of this. It was a last minute homily for a Mass celebrated with the team of missionaries coming to Montclair State University this fall written while I’m at FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). As always, I appreciate you’re reading, sharing and comments and feedback. God Bless You! Fr Jim


Can you ever imagine a moment, a time, an experience where you felt completely alone. And not in the sense of not having people around you. More than likely, unless you were in some desolate location – an igloo on some glacier, in the middle of some desert or the top of a mountain, none of us have ever experienced the sensation of being physically alone for an extended period of time.

But the sense of being “alone” – Feeling alone – in the emotional sense is probably something that’s affected every one of us at some time, in some way: The aloneness where:

No one truly understanding what it is we’re experiencing.

No one fully comprehending the pain, the fear, the doubt that plagues our hearts.

No one able to relate to the anxiety that keeps us awake at night.

Those types of experiences can make us feel incredibly alone – especially when there are other human beings physically around. Especially when we have friends or relatives for whatever reason aren’t equipped to speak to that. Especially when no one seems to have the ability to bring healing, speak words of comfort to whatever trial it is. Yes, I’d venture to say that experience of aloneness we’ve experienced at some time or in some way in our lives.

In the Gospel we just heard, as is often the case, we can focus solely on the miraculous event and miss the deeper message. Which is understandable because this miracle is truly spectacular. To hear how this funeral procession, in front of a crowd of people in this city of Nain turns into a resuscitation party – a coming back to life party, is pretty amazing.

But the message Jesus shares in this story is far greater than that singular spectacular event. The Good News of the Gospel is that even in the midst where we feel the greatest despair, desolation, and when we feel utterly alone – we aren’t. When our feelings betray us, our friends and family are inadequate, whether because of their inability or their choosing not to – God never takes his loving gaze off of us. God will not leave us alone.

With just a few details from this passage – there’s so few that we don’t even know this widow’s name or her son’s – we can learn of the sense of aloneness she was experiencing. She’s already lost her husband. She’s now lost her only son. She’s lost everything that mattered, everything that was of value and importance to her. It’s understandable why she’s weeping. She’s inconsolable as she walks in a crowd. Probably random people said well intentioned things like “he’s in a better place,” “at least he’s not in pain now” or “I know how you feel” – that made here feel worse. Now the widow felt more and more alone. Because no one could no how she felt. And all those well intentioned words probably caused her to wonder What’s this better place that my family has gone to, leaving me abandoned…

All the pain that was in this woman’s heart, cloaked by her tears nowhere nearly revealed the depths of sadness she was experiencing. Depths that no doubt some mourners in that funeral procession wanted to race through those rites in their unease over her pain and their uncomfortableness in the face of it.

What happens next? This woman’s aloneness catches Jesus’ attention. He sees that broken heart. He hears her cries and He goes to her. “Do Not Weep” – and moments later “Arise”- not just to bring the young man back to life, but words addressed to this widow. ARISE! – In that, the entire city — in shock, in fear, in awe proclaims “God has visited His People!”

Jesus comes to us to do the same thing. To meet us in our aloneness. To meet all of humanity in that aloneness. To speak to our fears, our doubts our anxieties – words of Hope, words of comfort, words of healing. To bring to that isolation his loving presence. To remove whatever blinders, whatever obstacles there might be from seeing Him, experiencing Him.

It never ceases to amaze me to see how Jesus’ presence continues to do this, some 2,000 years later. This past week, I was asked to go visit a woman – who I had never met – who was in hospice care and had not been a practicing Catholic for many years. Because of the prayers of members of her family, and their openness to not simply be with her in the midst of her illness, but love her, pray with her and ask her if she wanted to meet Jesus – Sacramentally in the Last Rites (to prepare to meet Him in eternity) she was open to that. When I arrived, she had deteriorated a great deal already. And despite years of non-practicing she wanted to receive the Sacraments. She was the most responsive during the entire visit as we prayed. And while the miraculous, instantaneous healing that I would have loved to have seen the Lord work at that moment didn’t happen, I couldn’t help but witness a great number of other miracles:

– As she was dying, surrounded by nurses, doctors, family and friends coming in and our of her room – she was anxious. She was fidgeting, she was nervous and anxious. But it was beautiful witnessing the gentleness of Jesus coming to her at a moment of extreme aloneness watching it abate as we prayed with her. You could physically see her demeanor change.

– Even more, Jesus presence and action was able to bring healing to that family. Some members who were anxious and estranged were able to experience some measures of peace, and reconciliation that had eluded them. And she was able to pass away yesterday to meet Jesus face to face yesterday not feeling alone, but rather knowing He was there to guide and lead her.

Jesus wants the world to come to experience this tremendously Good News: “God has visited his people” and continues to do so. In the darkness of our lives, may we look for Him to being his light and love. In the call to be his disciples may we be the bearers of His light, the enfleshment of His love to those lost, struggling and feeling abandoned. Then the miracle of the city of Nain will continue to be experienced In our cities in our time.