Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Why does the Bible say many times that we must care for widows and orphans? James 1:27 says, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."
At that time, the only social security program was the family. The family had the responsibility to care for children and the elderly. But what happened to those who had no children or parents, or husband? At that time, as nowadays, women frequently lived for years longer than their husbands. o, God commanded His church to take care of widows and orphans. In the book of Acts, chapter 6, the apostles instituted the diaconate ministry for mercy work. They presented their proposal to the body of believers to choose seven deacons to distribute the food to the widows.
The context for our gospel, also in the reading of the Old Testament (1 Kings 17: 17-24) is the custom to entrust the care of his mother to the firstborn son. That is why, when Jesus saw His mother and the Apostle John before the foot of the cross, He said to his mother, "Woman, there is your son" and to John, "Behold your mother". And from that hour the disciple received her in his house (John 19: 26-27).
The reading of the Old Testament is the continuation of the story of the prophet Elijah and the widow of Sarepta. "After these things it happened that the son of the mistress of the house fell ill, and the illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. And she said to Elijah, What have I to do with you, man of God? Have you come to me to recall my iniquities, and to kill my son? "
God showed his mercy to the widow in this way: "And he said to him, Give me your son. Then he took him from her lap, and took him to the chamber where he was, and put him on his bed. And he cried to Jehovah, and said, O Jehovah my God, have you afflicted the widow in whose house I am lodged, making her son to die? And he stretched himself on the child three times, and cried out to Jehovah, and said, O LORD my God, I pray the soul of this child shall return to him. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the child's soul returned to him, and he revived. Elijah then took the boy, brought him from the chamber to the house, and gave it to his mother. "
In our gospel for today, we find another widow who had lost her only child. "And it came to pass the next day, that He was going to the city called Nain, and many of His disciples were going with Him, and a great multitude. And when he came near the gate of the city, behold, they carried to bury a dead man, the only son of his mother, who was also a widow; and there were many people from the city with her. "
Again God showed his mercy. "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said: Do not cry. And he came and touched the coffin; and those who carried it, stopped. And he said: Young man, to you I say: Get up. Then he who had died got up and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. "
Clearly there is special space in the heart of God for widows, orphans and the afflicted. In these texts, He twice revived the sons of widows. But, look, we do not read anything about the fate of these men after those miracles, but we can assume they died again. Only one son of a widow rose from the dead forever. Because the Virgin Mary was a widow too. But her Son was resurrected forever and by the baptism in Him we will also be resurrected forever. Why did the prophet Elijah lie on the child three times? There are three persons in the holy Trinity, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
Well, we can learn from these verses that St. Paul says in our Epistle (Ephesians 3: 13-21) that God "is able to do all things much more abundantly than we ask, or understand." When we face the trials and tribulations , as the widow of Sarepta and the prophet Elijah also, it is our nature to ask God, "Why, Lord, why?" However, if we trust in Him, we experience the mercy of God.
We do not experience mercy if we demand Him to show His power first. The manifestations of God's power do not create faith in themselves. See what our text says about the miracle of the son of Nain's widow: "And all were afraid, and glorified God, saying, A great prophet has risen among us; and: God has visited his people. "They thought of Jesus as a prophet, but not yet in Him as Lord and Savior.
Let us receive the gift of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior with the promise of eternal life in baptism. Three times the prophet Elijah stretched out on the body of the child; Three times the baptized person receives the water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The new life, the life of faith, begins with baptism.
The same power of the Holy Spirit that created the heavens and the earth, which revived the children of the widows, engendered saving faith in us. Because of this faith we experience the mercy of God and the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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