The Catholic Defender: Jesus Raises The Man From Naim
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.
From this scriptural text, there is much to gleam from it! I can't help thinking about the exclamation, "A great prophet has arisen in our midst". I recall Moses giving such a prophetic word about Jesus:
"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren--him you shall heed."
Consider how fear seized everyone who witnessed the event? Moses went on to say about Jesus, "just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die." There is no question that St. Luke is tying this together for us.
Another recollection from St. Luke was the people's exclamation "God has visited his people"! Recall the prophetic word of Isaiah, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-el." What does Immanuel mean? It means "God is with us"!
Really, who is St. Luke really calling Jesus? He is recognizing Jesus as God. Much like St. Thomas when he witnesses Jesus after the Resurrection, "Then he (Jesus) said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
As Jesus had the power to raise the man from Nain, Jesus also had the power to raise up his own life as he foretold his Apostles. Jesus tells the Mother of the man who had died, "Do not weep", obviously, this man was a good man whom Jesus knew, like Lazarus, Jesus raised him from the dead. This is great news for the believers of Jesus Christ, he tells us "Do not weep" for those who have gone before us. Jesus who knows them will raise them all up at the Parousia!
This gives us great confidence that helps us through this pilgrimage of life. St Paul wrote St. Timothy in regards of Onesiphorus, "You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, and among them Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me-- may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day--and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus."
Obviously, St. Paul believed in the power of Jesus to raise Onesiphorus from the dead and to show mercy towards him for the good works he accomplished with St. Paul. This also gives a glimpse of the importance of praying and interceding for those who have died.
When the body dies, the soul lives on and they go to either Heaven, Purgatory, or God forbid, Hell. There is no other place to go. Those who do go to Purgatory is temporal, through Jesus mercy, these will go to Heaven eternally.
St. Paul gives another glimpse of this writing to the Philippians, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
The Saints in Heaven are also known as the Church "Triumphant," the Church on earth are the Church "Militant" those fighting the fight, and the Church under the earth are the "Church suffering", the poor souls of Purgatory.
This teaching actually goes back to the Old Testament which also held Heaven, Hell, and Sheol. St. Peter referred to this in-between state as "Prison" (1 Peter 3:19) placing Jesus and St. Dismiss there coming from the cross " Luke 27:42-42
St. Dismiss asked Jesus, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Just as Jesus rose the man from Naim from the dead, even from the cross, Jesus has the power to take St. Dismiss with him to Paradise!
The Catholic Church is sharing this text of scripture to be a great reminder for the whole world that Jesus still has the power to raise the dead. Jesus has used His Church to accomplish this in His name. This is our hope of glory that one day we will again see our loved ones who have gone on before us.
God our Father, Your power brings us to birth, Your providence guides our lives, and by Your command we return to dust.
Lord, those who die still live in Your presence, their lives change but do not end. I pray in hope for my family, relatives and friends, and for all the dead known to You alone.
In company with Christ, Who died and now lives, may they rejoice in Your kingdom, where all our tears are wiped away. Unite us together again in one family, to sing Your praise forever and ever. Amen.