June 5, Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) 1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
2) Galatians 1:11-14a, 15ac, 16a, 17, 19
Gospel: Luke 7:11-17
Across the decades since I came into the church in 1974, I have seen many instances where God was at work in the world. I’ve seen healings and many more instances of God bringing about good results in situations for which there was no reasonable hope.
But there are abuses of the belief in miracles. The worst I ever heard about came through a friend who was teaching in East Texas. While there, she heard of the death of an infant for whom a Pentecostal church had prayed fervently. At the funeral, it was reported, the pastor lifted the lifeless infant in the air and declared, “This is lack of faith!”
That horrible moment must have caused some in the community to question their authentic faith in and love of God. The preacher’s arrogance and self-righteousness confused “faith” with human will as he suggested the people’s prayers weren’t good enough to save the infant.
Today’s readings hold the antidote to such flawed thinking by pointing out that God, not human strength, has miraculous power.
In the passage from Kings, the prophet Elijah cries out to God to restore life to the only son of the widow who was providing him shelter. Elijah, in service to God, pleaded the widow’s case and her son was saved — not by Elijah’s action, but by God’s.
When Elijah restored the child to his mother, she responded. “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God. The word of the Lord comes truly from your mouth.”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is “moved with pity” when he witnesses a mother, also a widow, who has lost her son. He steps forward, touches the coffin and says, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” He is restored to life and to his mother.
The crowd, witnessing these events cries out, “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.”
God was glorified in action in the first case by the faith-filled holy man, Elijah, and in the second by the acts of Jesus, the God-man. The people were not looking to the strength of their prayers but to their faith that a loving God would act. God acted and love of him increased.
Have you ever witnessed what you believe was a miracle?