“Let us not wait to be invited, just as Jesus was not invited to Nain, but He went to Nain to comfort, to bring relief to that suffering mother, telling her to weep no more,” Patriarch Daniel of Romania said on Sunday offering his reflections on the gospel passage from Luke 7:11-16 on the raising of the son of the widow of Nain.
“Life is given through His body
In the sermon delivered at the Chapel of Saint George at the Patriarchal Residence, the Patriarch of Romania explained why Jesus touched the young man’s coffin.
“The Saviour Jesus Christ has compassion, has mercy on the grieving mother, but at the same time has mercy on the young man who died prematurely. He did not reach old age and raised him from the dead.”
“St. Cyril of Alexandria, who interpreted the Gospel of Luke, says that the Saviour Jesus Christ touched the coffin of the dead young man to show that life is given through His body. This shows us that the Saviour Jesus Christ raised the son of the widow of Nain and soothed the pain of this widow because He is the Resurrection and the Life, as he told Martha, Lazarus’ sister. But also to show that He is the Physician of our souls and bodies.”
“The Saviour Jesus Christ performs the resurrection of the widow’s son in Nain to show compassion, that is, merciful love that suffers together with those who suffer, and to show that He is the source of eternal life.”
Veneration of the dead
“The Saviour Jesus Christ, approaching the coffin of the sleeping child and stopping the funeral procession, teaches us to honor, to show respect to those who have passed away to the Lord.”
“The veneration of those who have passed away to the Lord must be done by showing respect for their bodies, for the coffin in which they are, but also for the grave in which they are laid.”
“Therefore, in our Church, we have reverence for those who have fallen asleep in the Lord, for those who have passed on to eternal life, having faith in Jesus Christ and the hope of the universal resurrection at the end of the ages.”
“From among those who have fallen asleep in the Lord, those who had a holy life keep the bond of holiness in their bodies even after death because the holiness in their souls has been imprinted in their bodies. Therefore, the bones of the saints are called relics, and they are venerated especially because a mysterious connection remains between the soul of the one who reposed in the Lord, who had a holy life, and his body in the tomb, because by grace, the soul is united with God, the source of holiness and eternal life.”
“So, both the veneration of the dead and the veneration of those who the Church has recognized as saints are part of our love for those who have fallen asleep in the Lord.”
Commemorative Year 2021
The Patriarch stressed that the year 2021 was declared a Commemorative Year of those asleep in the Lord; the liturgical and cultural value of cemeteries in the Romanian Patriarchate.
“Today’s gospel is an exhortation to be next to those who are grieving, but also to honor those who have fallen asleep in the Lord, especially since this year the Church commemorates those who have fallen asleep in the Lord and takes special care of cemeteries and the tombs of the heroes to whom it builds monuments of honor. Here we see the liturgical and cultural value of cemeteries.”
“Saint John Chrysostom said that going to the cemetery we find much wisdom: we see that we are transient, but at the same time we have the hope of the universal resurrection and the faith in the resurrection of the dead at the end of the ages, according to the Orthodox Creed: I look for the resurrection of the dead.”
“The Saint also states that now the place where Christians are buried is no longer called a necropolis or the city of the dead, but a cemetery, ie a dormitory, where those who have passed away to the Lord rest in anticipation of the common or universal resurrection.”
“This urges us even more to have strong faith in the Resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, and also to honor those who have fallen asleep in the Lord by remembering them in our prayers. The Church has established time intervals at which those who are asleep in the Lord are commemorated, and the families of those who are grieving are comforted.”
“Young people should be a joy for their parents
According to Patriarch Daniel, the Gospel reading on the 20th Sunday after Pentecost emphasizes that young people must be helped to live a life in communion with their parents.
“Not to be estranged from their parents, to live a life with respect for their parents, for those around them and their friends. It is recommended that young people have faithful friends who pray to God for their health and salvation.”
“This Gospel shows us Christ’s love for young people and His desire for young people to be a joy for their parents, to be a support when they are old, to be an encouragement, a hope.”
“Let us pray for all parents who had children who died prematurely, either in accidents or due to illness. There is a need for a lot of consolation and reinforcement.”
“Some people, because they lost loved ones, parents or children, spouses, and close friends because they had no one to comfort, strengthen and advise them, became mentally unbalanced.”
“But, if in the moments of hardship, they had faithful neighbors or relatives or friends, they passed more easily through this painful trial of losing their loved ones.”
“This Gospel is the gospel of consolation to the bereaved and the gospel of hope for the lives of young people, but also of the exhortation to contribute through prayer, good counsel and good deeds to strengthen the communion between parents and children and to honor those who have passed away to the Lord,” Patriarch Daniel said ending his speech.