18 September 2007 Tuesday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time
1 Timothy 3, 1-13; Luke 7, 11-17 The Widow of Nain
In all accounts of Jesus raising a dead person to life, women were always involved. The Gospel narrated that Jesus was moved with pity on the widow who lost her only son. In Eastern tradition, to lose a husband and a son was a tragedy. She would then be at the mercy of her relatives; she would have to fend for herself by working in the fields and carrying buckets of water from long distances. In the story of Lazarus, Jesus was moved by the grief of Mary and Martha (John 11, 38-53). And in the story of the raising of the daughter of Jairus, Jesus was stirred by the mother’s supplication (Mark 5, 35-43). In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter raised Tabitha or Dorcas, moved to pity by wailing widows who showed Peter the clothes Tabitha made for them (Acts 9, 36-43). And Elijah raised from the dead the Zarephath widow’s son.
Mothers and their love for their children is legendary. Mary holds the highest distinction of honor as the mother of Jesus. With her are numerous women who influenced the lives of many great biblical leaders. The mother of Moses, Miriam and Aaron was Jochebed who taught Moses his Hebrew faith. Despite the background of Bathsheba, she became a good mother to Solomon. In Proverbs 31, Solomon revealed what his mother taught him about what a good wife and mother should be. During Solomon’s time, we had the mother who was willing to give up her son, as long as no harm befell him (1 Kings 3, 16-28). We knew of Salome, the mother of James and John, who would like her sons to occupy the place of honor with Jesus. Or Olympia, the mother of Alexander the Great, who wanted the same thing for her son. Lois and Eunice, the mother and grandmother of Timothy respectively, influenced his life of faith (2 Tim 1, 2-7). And we knew St. Monica who prayed for the conversion of her son, Augustine.
The influence of mothers on their children is undeniably the most prevailing. When the wine ran out at the Wedding at Cana, it was Mary’s suggestion to her son that Jesus performed his first known miracle even before his time. Likewise, it was the tears of the grieving mother in the Gospel that moved Jesus to perform another miracle.
We can do any of these two things today: reflect on the influence that you have on your children or offer a prayer for the women who influenced your lives. Women who contributed to our growth and our ‘greatness’. Women who inspired and built us up — whose prayers to God metaphorically brought us to life. A poet once said that the grass that grows in an orchard is different from the grass that grows in the jungle.