Friday, June 7, 2013

Suffering must be taken seriously

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
June 9, 2013

Luke 7:11-17

Jesus gets to Nain when the small town is experiencing a very sad event. Jesus comes from the road, accompanied by his disciples and a great crowd. A funeral procession is coming out of the village en route to the cemetery. A widowed mother, accompanied by her neighbors, is bringing her only son to be buried. In a few words, Luke has described the woman's tragic situation for us. She is a widow, without a husband to protect and care for her in that society that was controlled by men. She only has one son left, but the latter has also just died. The woman says nothing. She just cries in her grief. What will become of her?

The meeting was unexpected. Jesus had come to proclaim God's Good News in Nain too. What will his reaction be? According to the story, "the Lord saw her, he was moved...and said to her,'Do not weep.'" It's hard to better describe the Prophet of God's compassion.

He doesn't know the woman, but he looks at her carefully. He gets her pain and loneliness, and he is moved to the depth of his being. That woman's dejection gets him in the gut. His reaction is immediate: "Do not weep." Jesus can't stand to see anyone crying. He needs to intervene.

He doesn't think twice. He approaches the casket, stops the burial, and says to the dead man, "Young man, I tell you, arise!". When the young man stands up and begins to speak, Jesus "gives him to his monther" so that she'll stop crying. They are together again. The mother will no longer be alone.

It all seems simple. The story doesn't stress the miraculous aspect of what Jesus just did. It invites its readers to see in it the revelation of God as Mystery of Compassion and Life Force, able to save even from death. It's God's compassion that makes Jesus so sensitive to people's suffering.

In the Church, we must regain compassion as the lifestyle typical of Jesus' followers as soon as possible. We must rescue it from the sentimental moralizing conception that has discredited it. Mercy that demands justice is Jesus' great commandment: "Be merciful as Your Father is merciful."

This compassion is more necessary than ever today. From the centers of power, everything is taken into account rather than the suffering of the victims. It functions as if there weren't suffering people and losers. From Jesus' communities, a cry of absolute outrage must be heard: the suffering of the innocent must be taken seriously; it cannot be accepted socially as something normal since it is unacceptable to God. He doesn't want to see anyone crying.

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