This Sunday’s readings features the resuscitation of two sons . . . and the rekindling of hope in those experiencing loss.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The resuscitation of the sons in the first reading and Gospel made the witnesses of the miracles realize that God is present with them—that God “has visited his people.” They recognize God in Elijah and Jesus through their fruits—their ability to restore hope to those experiencing loss.
The circumstances that set the stage for the first reading are that Jezebel, the pagan wife of King Ahab, had been trying to kill Elijah. He ran to a pagan land and was offered hospitality by a very poor widow who had a son. She gave Elijah the last of their food. As a result of her kindness, she was given what they would need to survive a three-year drought. Elijah brought God’s mercy to her as a result of her hospitality to him.
Paul tells us that God was revealed to him not by human beings, but directly by Jesus, so that he could bring that message to the Gentiles.
The Gospel shares the story of Jesus’s resuscitating a young man who was all his mother, a widow, had left. As a result of his healing the man, the people knew that God had come to them. Jesus was moved with pity for the woman, something we see often in Jesus. He is always looking to bring comfort and mercy, and bringing people back together.
You can read this Sunday’s readings here:
Break Open the Word with Your Family
When Jesus came to the sad mom he told her not to cry because he was going to give her what she needed to be happy. Who helps you to not be sad when you’re feeling sad?
It’s a rare thing to have Elijah or Jesus right there giving our deceased loved ones back to us when they pass away. The rest of us have to let them go. How do you reconcile the fact that some people get a second chance and some don’t? Do you feel that it’s unfair? Do you think there’s a reason for it?
When the sons are given back to their mothers, they are miraculous events in themselves. But, they are not there just for the sake of pity or compassion—they are meant to draw us deeper into our understanding and recognition of God present in our midst. How do miracles make you more aware of God “visiting” you? Can you name some times or circumstances when you felt that God was visiting?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”