SAINT JANUARIUS, BISHOP AND MARTYR (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)
Young man, I tell you, arise!
The Gospels tell the stories of three different people whom Jesus raised from the dead: Lazarus (John 11:1-44); the young daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:22-43); and the son of the widow of Nain, which we read about today (Luke 7:11-17).
Luke’s story differs from the other two in a significant way. For both Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter, their loved ones sought Jesus’ help while they were both still sick. But in the story of the widow of Nain, no one sought Jesus out—he just showed up and raised the young man on his own initiative.
Isn’t it awesome that Jesus works this way sometimes? He shows up and intervenes all on his own. When we don’t expect it, he showers us with blessings that we haven’t even asked for. This is yet another sign that his love and mercy are for all people, even for those who might not be aware of his presence.
You might wonder, then: is there even a point to turning to Jesus for what we need? Absolutely! When we bring our petitions to Jesus in prayer, we are also bringing ourselves to him. When we tell him what is weighing on our hearts, we are also opening our hearts to him. And when we bring ourselves to him and pray with open hearts, our relationship with him deepens. We receive his love, and his heart becomes our heart. That heals us from the inside out. It makes us more humble and more open to receiving whatever he wants to do in us and in our loved ones.
So go ahead and pray for the things you want. After all, this widow probably prayed for her son’s recovery. Come to him in humility and tell him that you are ready to accept his will over yours. Come to him with trust, believing that he loves you more than you can ever know. Come to him in faith, confident that he will pour out his blessings according to his own perfect will and intentions for you. And don’t be surprised if Jesus just “shows up” and does something you didn’t even know you needed!
“Jesus, I trust that you have a perfect plan for my life and for those I love!”
1 Timothy 3:1-13
Psalm 101:1-3, 5-6