The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C. June 9th, 2013

We often speak of the idea that each one of us is individually called by God.  It can be difficult, however, to be able to articulate what this actually means.  While it is clear that to respond to that call involves using our talents and gifts for the good of others, it can be more challenging to try to go beyond this and describe what our individual vocation is all about. For example, have you ever thought of yourself as being a miracle? With the debate about abortion hotting up we hear much about the miracle of life.  However, the miracle of life is not just about the beginning of life; nor is it simply about the physical development of life.  The miracle of life is also about the ongoing transformation of the activities of our lives into moments that are life giving.
I think we are probably inclined to underestimate our vocation – and I am not just speaking about priests and religious!  The fact that each one of us is singled out, gifted, called, and sent as part of the building up of the Kingdom is not something that we should just take for granted.  It is, in a very real sense, evidence of the miraculous work of God in our midst. This Sunday’s gospel passage reminds us of these things.
When Jesus entered Nain he was surrounded by a large crowd.  We don’t know any of their names; nor do we have any idea why any of them were following him.  This crowd meets another crowd – a funeral of a young man. In the middle of the growing crowd Jesus singles out the young man and his mother.  We are told that he feels compassion for her and then comes the miracle.  He tells the young man to rise. Then, all present begin to glorify God.  Once the anonymous crowd sees the young man rise they are transformed into believers.
When we think of miracles we quite often focus on the “what?” of the miracle.  I think it is also important to take account of its “why?”.  Miracles are signs that the Kingdom is already happening. In a way that cannot be ignored miracles offer signs that something significant is happening here.
When the young man rises, he, quite literally, becomes visible. His transformation from death to life literally stands up before the people. The people present, when they see the young man rise, don’t begin to fuss around him and question him which probably would have been the obvious response.  Instead, they begin to glorify God. They have seen the sign that the Kingdom is here and so they glorify God.  The young man is transformed from being a corpse into being a sign.  When Jesus calls on him to rise he is calling him forth from death to be a sign of life among his own people.
Each one of us, when we are called, are called in a similar way. We are called to be signs. We are called to be miracles.  We are called to be signs of the miracle of life in the midst of a world which does so much to smother life.  To be people who value others in a society that takes people for granted; to be people who forgive in a world of intolerance; to be people of inclusion in a society that often excludes.
This is what it means to be a sign for life. This is the life that the prophets stood up for right through the Old Testament.  Each one of us is individually called, singled out, to transform our lives into signs of life so that when people see us they can be led towards the God of the living.

Article posted on 6th of June 2013

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