I have to say, I love the Gospel reading for this next Sunday, Luke 7:11-17. It is just overflowing with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Take a look at it:
Vs. 12 Jesus and the crowd following Him encounter a funeral procession. And this is not just any funeral procession, but the funeral of the only begotten son of a widow.
Vs. 13 Jesus has compassion (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη – esplanchnistha) for the sonless widow, literally His bowels were moved, kind of link saying His heart sank. He then does something odd, He commands her “stop grieving.” Now this might at first seem cold, but when the Lord of Life comes face to face with death, we should keep reading.
Vs. 14 Now the unthinkable happens, Jesus touches the bier. To touch death would make one ritually unclean. There is a significance to this. After all Jesus raised the dead with His voice, but here Jesus not only commands the dead to be raised, but touches death and thus takes on the death of humanity.
Vs. 15 This is great, the now ex-dead man is raised and he begins to speak. What he says, we do not know. But is this not precisely what happens to each one of us who have been raised from the death of sin? How can one not but “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”? It is also not insignificant that Jesus gives the only-begotten son of the widow back to his mother. With Luke, I think it is fair to say that there may be an allegorical meaning to this, in that those who have been raised from death through baptism are given back to their Mother, the Church.
Vs. 16 The people respond in a peculiar fashion. There is a basis calling Jesus a prophet, in fact He truly is The Prophet who is like Moses. After all Jesus alone has seen the Father face to face (whereas Moses but spoke to God face to face, while only seeing God’s backside). Elijah also raises the son of the widow of Zarapheth… but when he raised that son it was through prayer, not his own action that raises the son… and no one said “God has visited His people”.
There’s a ton here to work with, as you can see, and this is but the tip of the iceberg. The true comfort here is that Jesus bursts into our own procession of death, touches us, and gives us life.