Up Close and Personal / Íntimamente

Luke tells us in today’s Gospel that Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain. A couple of interesting facts about Nain: The town is in Galilee, just a bit south of Nazareth, and it’s right next to another town called Shunem, which earned its biblical fame as the location where the prophet Elisha raised a boy from the dead in the Second Book of Kings, another of the many foreshadowings of the Savior that can be found in the Old Testament.

This very special miracle that Jesus performed, however, reveals a lot about our Lord and Savior. He journeyed to Nain, so He was not from there, and He didn’t necessarily know a single person there personally. Yet His reaction to the situation, coming across a funeral in progress, is a very personal reaction. He saw the dead man’s mother, a widow who now had no one, and “He was moved with pity for her,” even going so far as trying to comfort her. He stepped up and touched the coffin, doing so during a time when contact with a dead body rendered a person ritually unclean. But Jesus, who obviously wants a personal relationship with people — with us — knows it’s hard to be personal without that close contact, something we all know too well from the pandemic. Jesus ordered him to rise, and he sat up and started talking, and our Lord gave him back to his mother. Gave him to her — what a gift!

Folks, we are that dead young man. Dead because of sin, self-centeredness, materialism, addiction, indifference, any number of things. Jesus sees our troubles, He sees the anguish around us, He is moved with pity, and He wants to touch us, be with us, and have that up close and personal relationship with us. Jesus wants to heal us and then make a gift of us. He does it through Scripture, the sacraments, prayer and the teachings of the Church.

Who, we have to ask, are we a gift for? And how? We can easily discover those answers in St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. As Christians, we “are Christ’s Body, and individually parts of it.”

As members of that Body, we all have different abilities and different roles, but we are to use them as Christ did, out of love and service to others in a close, personal way. We’re not all missionaries or clergy or even people with theology degrees. But what we are is gifts from our Lord. Let us gladly and willfully accept that role, go out and be freely given to others.

Contact the author

Lucas nos dice en el Evangelio de hoy que Jesús viajó a una ciudad llamada Naín. Un par de datos interesantes sobre Naín: el pueblo está en Galilea, un poco al sur de Nazaret, y está justo al lado de otro pueblo llamado Sunem, que ganó su fama bíblica como el lugar donde el profeta Eliseo resucitó a un niño de entre los muertos en el Segundo Libro de los Reyes, otro de los muchos presagios del Salvador que se pueden encontrar en el Antiguo Testamento.

Este milagro tan especial que realizó Jesús, sin embargo, revela mucho acerca de nuestro Señor y Salvador. Viajó a Naín, porque no era de allí, y seguro no conocía personalmente ni a una sola persona allí. Sin embargo, Su reacción ante la situación, al encontrarse con un funeral, es una reacción muy personal. Vio a la madre del muerto, una viuda que ya no tenía a nadie, y “se compadeció de ella”, llegando incluso a consolarla. Dio un paso adelante y tocó el ataúd, haciéndolo en un momento en que el contacto con un cadáver hacía a una persona ritualmente impura. Pero Jesús, quien obviamente quiere una relación cercana con las personas, con nosotros, sabe que es difícil ser personal sin ese contacto cercano, algo que todos sabemos muy bien por la pandemia. Jesús le ordenó que se levantara, y él se incorporó y comenzó a hablar, y nuestro Señor se lo devolvió a su madre. Se lo dio a ella, ¡qué regalo!

Amigos, somos ese joven muerto. Muerto por el pecado, el egocentrismo, el materialismo, la adicción, la indiferencia, cualquier cantidad de cosas. Jesús ve nuestros problemas, ve la angustia que nos rodea, se conmueve y quiere tocarnos, estar con nosotros y tener una relación cercana y personal con nosotros. Jesús quiere sanarnos y luego hacernos un regalo. Lo hace a través de la Escritura, los sacramentos, la oración y las enseñanzas de la Iglesia.

¿Debemos preguntarnos, para quién somos un regalo? ¿Y cómo? Podemos descubrir fácilmente esas respuestas en la carta de San Pablo a los Corintios. Como cristianos, “somos el Cuerpo de Cristo, e individualmente partes de él”. Como miembros de ese Cuerpo, todos tenemos diferentes habilidades y diferentes roles, pero debemos usarlos como lo hizo Cristo, por amor y servicio a los demás de manera cercana y personal. No todos somos misioneros o clérigos o incluso personas con títulos en teología. Pero sí somos regalos de nuestro Señor. Aceptemos gustosa y voluntariamente ese papel, salgamos y seamos entregados libremente a los demás.

Comunicarse con el autor

Mike Karpus is a regular guy. He grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, graduated from Michigan State University and works as an editor. He is married to a Catholic school principal, raised two daughters who became Catholic school teachers at points in their careers, and now relishes his two grandchildren, including the 3-year-old who teaches him what the colors of Father’s chasubles mean. He has served on a Catholic School board, a pastoral council and a parish stewardship committee. He currently is a lector at Mass, a Knight of Columbus, Adult Faith Formation Committee member and a board member of the local Habitat for Humanity organization. But mostly he’s a regular guy.

Feature Image Credit: Jackson David, unsplash.com/photos/8qudl9pDZJ0