Through the eyes of St. Luke the evangelist 7:11-16) we witness the miracle of the resurrection and we watch the most moving scene that our imagination could conjure
Christ was on His way to a town by the name of Nain. “And when He came near the gates of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son f his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her.” (Luke 7:12
This wretched woman was twice-bereaved, a fact that the evangelist stresses. First she lost her husband, her protector and bread-winner, and just as her hope was renewed in her son who had reached manhood, misfortune struck again and here she was, accompanying his body through the city gates in order to give him up to the earth. Can there be a more terrible tragedy than this for a single mother
At that moment Christ comes up to her and says, “Do not weep!” (Luke 7:13) One can only imagine the dead silence that followed His words. Telling a mother who is about to bury her only son “Do not weep!” must have sounded very impertinent to most of those in the funeral procession
“And He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” (Luke 7:14)And now the real shock comes. Telling a dead man to arise must have come as a real shock to all those present. Who is it that can command a dead body to arise, they wondered
We should know that God can do what no one else can. The One who breathed life into lifeless matter and the One who planted the seed of being into a mass of non-being, He can also resurrect the dead and call them to life again. And indeed, at His words, “the one who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.” (Luke 7:15) It was the most precious heavenly gift for her to be able to hold her son in her arms again
In the coldness of our heart and in our lukewarm faith we have trouble accepting much lesser miracles and we try to explain everything in our own, rational and human way. The truth is that we are surrounded by miracles and that the Creator is manifest in all that surrounds us. The only problem is that we don’t see that. We are capable of trivializing even the most beautiful fairy tale. Many of us, for all our wisdom and knowledge, cannot seem to realize that everything is completely senseless and pointless if there is no eternity.
Everything that God created and which surrounds us has its meaning and its goal and, if death were to annul everything, we humans would have no reasons for our existence on this planet whatsoever. As it is, we believe that we are called to eternity. The idea of life everlasting has accompanied us humans throughout our history. “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19
We can experience this divine mystery only and only through our faith. The prophet Ezekiel shows us an example of this faith in chapter 37, 1-10. “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which [was] full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, [there were] very many in the open valley; and, lo, [they were] very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but [there was] no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
I strongly suggest that you read this whole chapter carefully at your own convenience. It is not given to us so that we may let loose our imagination, but rather to answer the eternal question – even if we are resurrected, how is this going to happen? The answer is – just as the prophet describes it
Let us not be doubtful. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) The truth about the resurrection of the dead gives us who are living a certain responsibility, and here we have the answer as to why we are so quick to discard this truth. Many people reason like to live in denial. “It is better for me to cease my existence than to live in shame for eternity.” If there is no resurrection, and if there is no judgment, then there can be no answer for our deeds and misdeeds
“How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” (1 Corinthians 15:35) The apostle gives us a clear and obvious example that all of us can relate to in our lives. “What you sow is not made alive unless it dies.” (1 Corinthians 15:36) And our great poet Njegosh says, “There is no resurrection without death.” And it has been said many times: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” (John 12:24
For those among us who are curious, St. Paul breaks it down to the most minute detail. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.“ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
Our Resurrected Lord, the Resurrector, He is the guarantor of our resurrection. “If the spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11) Without faith in Christ’s resurrection and, along with His, in ours as well, everything is in vain. “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)
“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Luke 20:18). Believe, my dear friends, and by your faith prepare to meet the Living God, the Giver of Life, in eternity, in the Kingdom of heaven.