10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
1 Kings 17:17-24
June 9, 2013
When we know someone who is suffering or we are suffering ourselves, we pray for miracles. This is good. We should always pray for anyone in suffering.
In offering these prayers, we don’t always get the miracles we ask for. In fact, sometimes we feel like our prayers don’t ever get answered.
Why doesn’t God answer our prayers?
Of course, there are the theological answers ranging from God knows what’s best and won’t give us something bad to we just need to trust in God. God will answer our prayers in accord with His will at the appointed time.
These are not the answers we want but we can remember that we can indeed trust in God to take care of us.
I’d like to throw out a question, “Why do we ask for miracles?” Generally, it’s because someone we care about is suffering. That’s good. Keep praying!
Now, another question for us to think about is “Why does God do miracles?”
The simple answer is because God loves the people and wants to help them. It’s true but this answer begs the question, “Then why doesn’t God help everyone with a miracle? Does this mean God doesn’t love everyone?”
No, it doesn’t. God loves everyone.
Miracles are great in and of themselves but God also has another purpose in doing miracles. To understand this purpose, let’s look at the last line of our first reading, “The woman replied to Elijah, “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God.”
Elijah comes to stay at the widow’s house. After he arrives, her son becomes ill and dies. She blames this on Elijah. In turn, Elijah cries out to ask God to breathe life again into her son. God does the miracle through the prayers of Elijah. Through this miracle, the woman comes to understand that Elijah is a man of God.
That’s the broader purpose of the miracle.
Jesus finds himself in a similar situation in Nain. We are told the only son of the widow dies before Jesus’ arrival. Jesus is not blamed for the man’s death. No one asks Jesus to do a miracle for the man. So why do Jesus’ do this miracle?
We are told “he was moved with pity.” Why? She was a widow and this was her only son. In the culture of that time, a woman without a husband and no male children would have no means of owning anything and had no status. The widow would have been without any means to provide for herself.
Jesus knows her dilemma and so, without being asked does the miracle for the woman. The miracle is good for the woman and her son.
It’s also good for us. First, it helps us to understand that Jesus is indeed Son of God because we see the power of God at work through him.
It also sets an example for us. We aren’t going to do a miracle like raising the dead but we can remember how Jesus recognized the needs of the woman. Do we recognize the needs of those around us and do what we can to help them?
It’s tough. First of all, our first response to someone really in need might be to think what they need is money. Often, money is a big part of what they need but it isn’t the only thing they need.
Maybe they need food. Can we give some? Maybe they need a place to stay? Where might we direct them? After all, we aren’t going to want to let a stranger stay in our own house, are we?
We might also wonder who is really in need? Charity seems to be getting complicated. I myself choose to help others by given any more I wish to go to the poor to groups like Catholic Charities. Then, in turn, they can help the person with not just a handout but with a hand up.
So, there are ways we can help with material needs. Maybe we don’t have the means to help in this way or seek to do more. There is another need we can help with.
We all need to know someone cares. The widows would have been left alone. God provided. Jesus was there at Nain. Do we let people in need know we care?
Jesus died miracles so people would know of his love. Do we share that love with others?