Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Luke 7. 11-17 

"When he saw her he felt sorry for her"

A young man is being carried out of the town for burial. His mother is distraught, for he is her only son and she is a widow. In losing her son she has lost, not only the one she loved but also her security. In telling this story of the raising to life of the dead son of a widow, Luke stresses the compassionate source of the action of Jesus. “When he saw her he felt sorry for her.” In these few words we have the key to understanding what lies behind those actions of Jesus we call miracles. “He felt sorry for her” – the word used expresses a deep feeling of compassion, a gut reaction, a sense of sharing the pain and distress of this poor widow. He is troubled at heart, moved to the very core of his being. 

What comes across quite forcefully is the attitude of Jesus in the presence of human suffering. He does not simply draw close to those who suffer but enters into their suffering, becomes one with them in their plight. Here we understand what it means to say Jesus is the face of the mercy and compassion of God. He is the image of the Father, sharing in action the love of the Father for us. In Jesus the invisible God becomes visible, incarnate, living and moving among people, encountered and experienced in a tangible way. 

And in our day, too, God reaches out to us with the same love, mercy and compassion. Like the widow we are in need, but we must recognise our need - the need to be raised up from our sins, from our indifference, our self-centredness, our failures. Through Jesus he has the same love and concern for us that he showed for the widow of Nain and her son. He longs for our acceptance. But, more than that, God wills that his love should be incarnate in the lives of all the baptised, that his care and kindness might be encountered and experienced in the lives of those who, like Jesus, can show concern and sensitivity.