Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came 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.
Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.
On the weekends, I participate at a parish in a favela that is called “Conjunto Felicidade.” This is a hard name to translate, but it means something like “the place of happiness”.
As an American in Brazil, I find the way to understand the culture is to watch the faces of the people. And so, at Mass in Conjunto Felicidade, I watch the people as they sing, listen to the priest, and approach the altar. For me, the best way to learn about Brazil is to watch, carefully, how the people are and act.
I imagine that Jesus was a master at this. He saw the woman of Nain, and he knew how to respond. Having eyes wide open to the mystery of life around Jesus made him who he was. We might pray to have our eyes opened to the mystery of God´s life that passes before us today so that we too can respond with compassion.
—Christopher Staab, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the Chicago-Detroit province. He is currently in his second year of theology studies at the Jesuit house of studies in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Chris previously taught at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago IL.
Life-giving God, you alone are the source of all life and peace. Show us how to serve you well as we look into one another’s eyes, share each other’s burdens, and reach out in hope to all those we meet today. Amen.Please share the Good Word with your friends!