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The dead man meets the Life and the Resurrection - Luke 7:11-17.

"The dead man was being buried, and many friends were conducting him to his tomb. Christ, the life and resurrection, meets him there. He is the Destroyer of death and of corruption. He is the One in whom we live and move and are. He is who has restored the nature of man to that which it originally was and has set free our death-fraught flesh from the bonds of death. He had mercy upon the woman, and that her tears might be stopped, he commanded saying, “Weep not.” Immediately the cause of her weeping was done away". - St Cyril of Alexandria.

When we read the account of the Lord’s raising of the son of the widow of Nain, we see Christ having compassion upon a widow who mourns the death of her only son. He comforts her, saying “Do not weep,” and then touches the coffin, bringing the young man back from the dead.

The Lord’s great act of compassion for this woman is a sign of our salvation. For we weep and mourn not only for loved ones whom we see no more, but also for the broken, disintegrated state of life that the sins of humanity—and our own sins—have brought to us and to our world. Death, destruction, hatred, fear, and decay in all their forms are the consequences of our refusal to live faithfully as those created in the image of God. We have worshipped ourselves, our possessions and our pride, and found despair and emptiness as a result, as well as slavery to our own self-centered desires. So we weep with the widow of Nain for losing ourselves.

The good news however, is the compassion of God. Rather than simply observing human suffering and letting us bear the consequences of our actions, the Father sent the Son to enter into our suffering, into our distorted and disintegrated world, in order to set us right, to stop us from weeping, and even to raise us from the dead into the glory of the heavenly kingdom. The Son touched the coffin of the dead man and he arose. Christ’s compassion for us is so profound that He also entered a tomb, and even descended to Hades, the shadowy place of the dead because—out of love for humankind—He could not simply stand by and allow us to bear the full consequences of our actions.

You see, our faith is not fundamentally about justice or punishment or wrath for sinners. It is instead about the infinite and holy love of Christ Who will stop at nothing to bring the one lost sheep back into the fold, Who is not embarrassed to welcome home the prodigal son, and Who will even submit to death on a cross in order to destroy death by His glorious resurrection.

And, yes, we have our part to play in response to His love. If we seek to follow Jesus Christ, if we are members of His Body the Church, and are nourished by His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, then His compassion must become evident in our lives. If we are partakers of the divine nature in Him, then His life must become ours such that, as St. Paul teaches, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” If we receive Christ’s compassion, we must extend compassion to others, suffering with them in love, sharing their pain as best we can and going out of our way to show them the mercy and care that we have found in our Lord.

St Cyril describes this as follows "Christ raised him who was descending to his grave. The manner of his rising is plain to see. “He touched,” it says, “the bier and said, ‘Young man, I say unto thee, arise.’” How was not a word enough for raising him who was lying there? What is so difficult to it or past accomplishment? What is more powerful than the Word of God? Why then did he not work the miracle by only a word but also touched the bier? It was, my beloved, that you might learn that the holy body of Christ is productive for the salvation of man. The flesh of the almighty Word is the body of life and was clothed with his might. Consider that iron when brought into contact with fire produces the effects of fire and fulfills its functions. The flesh of Christ also has the power of giving life and annihilates the influence of death and corruption because it is the flesh of the Word, who gives life to all. May our Lord Jesus Christ also touch us that delivering us from evil works, even from fleshly lusts, he may unite us to the assemblies of the saints ". Thus in seeking Christ and becoming united in Him we can too see His works in our life and can partake of his compassion upon us.

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