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Homily (Reflection) for the Tenth Sunday of the Year, (C) (5th June, 2016) on the Gospel

1Kg 17:17-24;
Ps 29:2.4-6.11-13. (R. v. 2);
Gal 1:11-19;
Lk 7:11-17.

Topic: Compassionate Jesus.

As Jesus accompanied by His disciples and a large crowd approached the gate of Nain, the dead body of the only son of a widow was being carried away for burial. Out of compassion Jesus said her, “Do not weep.” Jesus went “forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”

Needless to be told that the joy of the erstwhile weeping widow knew no bounds. The Psalmist wrote, “The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made” (Ps 145:9). There are different images in the bible in which we see God as a compassionate God. They include the parable of the Good Samaritan, cf. Lk 10:25-37; the parable of the loving father otherwise known as the parable of the prodigal son, cf. Lk 15:11-32; among so many others. And Saint Paul advised, “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:32).

At a retreat for peace, conducted in Los Angeles by Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese monk, some American veterans of the War were invited to attend, and to share their stories. With tears of shame and regret one veteran confessed how before combat he and his buddies would throw money into a jar and whoever killed the most enemies that day would get the money.

Another veteran told how one day during the war he captured a young Vietnamese soldier. With his hands clasped on his head, the Vietnamese soldier captive fell down on his knees and crawled. Moved by the look of absolute terror in his enemy’s eyes, the America soldier began to ask him questions through an interpreter.

“How old are you?”
“Nineteen.”
“So am I. What do you do?”
“I’m a student.”
“So am I. Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Yes.”
“So do I.”

Then, reaching into his knapsack, the young American pulled out a tin of beans, gave it to his enemy and let him go. At first the Vietnamese ran as fast as he could, zigzagging back and forth for fear that he would be shot in the back. Then suddenly he turned, raised the tin of beans high over his head, bowed a deep bow and disappeared into the jungle. For this Vietnamese soldier a tin of beans was a feast to be shared. From that day on the young American soldier marched with his gun turned upside down.[1]

God always give us opportunities to be compassionate to others as He is compassionate. It is in our hands to get something laudable or lamentable out of them. What Jesus did made the people to praise God saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favourable on his people!” We ought to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven, cf. Matt 5:16; Lk 6:36.

Bible Reading: Eph 4:25–5:2; Col 3:1-17.

Thought for today: Be merciful as our Father is merciful (cf. Lk 6:36).

Let us pray: May God pour on us all a spirit of compassion – Amen (cf. Zech 12:10).

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[1] Fuller, G. (2010). Stories for all seasons. Mumbai: ST PAULS, p. 128.

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