Tuesday Week 24 Year I

If yesterday was all theory—all message and no meeting—today is the humble reality of practice. Out on the edge of things, between the gate and the grave, two crowds collide. One follows Jesus and another follows in the footsteps of death. And here it is like a lens clicking into focus: a dead man, the only son of his mother, and her, familiar with grief, a widow. Now she has nothing, no livelihood, even if she is surrounded by her whole town. And Jesus saw her.
What happens next is almost hidden in the English. “He felt sorry for her”, says the Jerusalem Bible. “Had compassion”, says the King James. The Revised English Bible gets the closest: “his heart went out to her”. In the Greek, the word literally means his bowels churned. Something about what Jesus saw affected him so physically that it hit him in his guts. The rest is almost anticlimax. Two abrupt commands: “stop crying” to the widow and “rise” to the young man. Luke makes the punch line almost comic—the corpse sat up and began talking. But the important thing is that the mother gets her child back, her life back.
The crowds are in awe. But what would you have felt? Are we willing to meet a Jesus who is that passionate? Someone who is sickened to the stomach by the sadness of the world? Are we willing to walk in his company? Be a friend of this man? Are we willing to let our own intestines cramp in the face of loss? Are we willing to follow where our bowels lead?