Now that we have completed most of the Solemnities of the Lord, we begin Ordinary Time in earnest with two stories of a widow who had lost her son and how God intervened in their lives. The plight of the widow of Nain is captured in a limerick, a five-line, rhyming poem.
There once was a widow of Nain whose life had become a great pain.
Her son he was dead from the city she fled. But her life was not to wane.
The status of widows in our culture is very different from that found in the ancient Near East. A widow is a woman whose husband has died; not having remarried, she is in possession of her husband’s inheritance and estate. The different words for “widow” in various languages of that day refer to her as “unable to speak,” “to be in pain,” or “forsaken” or “left empty.” Unless she remarried or an elder son or her brother-in-law took her in, her life was in constant peril.
In both the first reading and the gospel, we see how “God has visited his people.” The prophet Elijah raised the son of the widow of Zarephath of Sidon, the very widow who had given him her last bit of food that miraculously sustained them all for a year. Jesus restored life to the son of the widow of Nain and in a more marvelous way, restored her hope and life.
Life and death are great mysteries which we encounter in so many ways. As we confront our own darkness and loss, Jesus wondrously turns our “mourning into dancing.” While our family of four parishes will focus on visiting the imprisoned for the month of June during this Year of Mercy, it is good to remember another spiritual work of mercy: praying for the dead, which includes the rites of burial. Under the direction of Terri Balash, Director of Pastoral Care, we have Hospitality Ministers to assist at all funeral liturgies. Some people assist as liturgical ministers or choir members.
Finally, this week Catholic East Elementary concludes another academic year. On June 6, we will honor 23 scholars who will celebrate a baccalaureate Mass and graduation ceremony. We wish them God’s many blessings as they enter high school. The last day of school is Wednesday, June 8 with an all school Mass at 8:30 am at Three Holy Women – Holy Rosary Church. Praying that all our scholars and families have a safe summer.
See you this summer!
Fr. Mike Michalski