If you have ever noticed, the arrangement of the readings are always the same. On Sundays, we hear from the old testament, then (typically) from the letters and then from the Gospels. The daily readings mix that up a bit in that the first reading is either the Old Testament or letters and then we hear from the Gospel.
The thing is that, they do not always follow the same message. Or if they do it is often an obscure connection. Today, at least in my opinion, that is not the case.
The first reading leads right into the gospel. It is that wonderful section from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians that celebrates our individuality. “As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.”
As a child this was very comforting to me because I didn’t always fit in. They would see “blue” and I would see not red or yellow. Sort of the same things but always from a little bit off. So when I heard this I immediately thought that this was the best kind of news. My contribution could be in a from that was different from everyone else and that was okay.
Our responsibility was to, “Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts”, not matter what they were or whether anyone else had the same ones.
Have you ever notices that in all of the superhero movies there is never two of any one hero. Batman was not really like Robin. And superman was nothing like wonder woman. Everyone seemed to have their own super power and they were each unique.
The gospel reading speaks to our super powers. Imagine how this story played out. They were carrying the coffin out of the city to be buried. It does not say how the boy died but you can rest assure that every effort was made to revive him. I mean, his poor mother, she lost her husband and now here her only son had passed away and she was left alone. In that time this meant that she would soon die herself as she would have no means of support, no food to eat, she would have nothing. And this scene brought Jesus to tears. “When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak,”
It says that those that witnessed this were seized with fear! No kidding, this would have seized me with some serious fear. Maybe not of Jesus but of the fact that what I though I knew I did not know anymore.
So how does this come back to the origin of our super powers? That is simple, Jesus is in us. Perhaps we take that too much for granted so let me say that again, Jesus is in us. Individually, uniquely, lovingly non the less but He is there. He is in you and me, and your spouse, and in your children, and in your neighbor, and in the stranger that you say coming to service. HE IS IN US. And how do I know this? Because he said that He was:
John 6:55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1 Corinthians 3:13 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
Todays readings work so well together because they tell us what we know in a way that we so often forget. We are all children of God, we are all totally loved by God and that is where all of our super powers originate. And when we sit down, and think about that we know that.
And all of these superpowers, all unique and individual, have one purpose in mind. For in one spirit we were all baptized into one body. Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
I do not know, sometimes we see each other’s super powers but often we overlook them.
Just remember,” A great prophet has arisen in our midst and God has visited his people.”
“Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.”
LK 7:11 – 17
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.
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