You Have a Friend

June 5, 2016 | N W | Compassion, Father Salvador, Generosity, Hope, Service, St. Luke

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 5, 2016 – Year C
Readings: 1 Kgs 17:17-24 / Ps 30 / Gal 1:11-19 / Lk 7:11-17
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

The song, “You’ve Got a Friend,” written by Carole King and popularized by James Taylor, has been in existence for forty-five years now.  It is still being used as a theme song in movies and commercials and is played on the radio and on many other occasions.  In fact, at the funeral of my aunt, they used “You’ve Got a Friend,” and that was only a few years ago.  A couple of lines from this song go something like this: “When you’re down and troubled, and you need a helping hand, I will be there to brighten up even your darkest night.”

It is pretty clear in the gospels that the Lord Jesus is a friend to everybody, most especially those who are helpless.  In today’s gospel, St. Luke the Evangelist relates to us the story of a widow whose only son has died.  When the Lord saw her, He knew that the most difficult part of her life was not the funeral of her son but the time when she returns to her home, and all her relatives and friends have left.  That’s the time when she will feel helpless and alone. The widow may temporarily be consoled by the large crowd attending the funeral, as St. Luke relates to us, but all these people will soon be gone to attend to the needs of their own families and continue with their day-to-day routines.

St. Luke the Evangelist relates that the Lord Jesus was moved with pity for her and said, “Do not weep.” Then He did something that is humanly impossible.  He stepped forward, touched the coffin and said, “Young man, I tell you, arise.”  As many scripture scholars say, the high point of this story is not when the Lord raised the dead son back to life, but when Jesus gave him back to his mother.  As a widow, her son is her only hope, and this is what the Lord gave her.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we gather here together we all know and believe that Jesus is our hope.  And the same Jesus who raised the dead back to life is in our midst right now listening to our every prayer.  He is the same Jesus who spoke to us in the gospel to give us hope and inspiration and encouragement.  In a few minutes He will give us His body and blood in the Eucharist to give us His strength.  But He is also counting on each and every one of us to be His instruments of hope and compassion to others as we go forward after this Eucharistic celebration.

Less than an hour from now, we will celebrate Rita’s ministry here at Holy Name where she has served for many years, not only as our Faith Formation Coordinator but as our Wedding Coordinator, Pastoral Care Director, Spiritual Director and Counselor, and Funeral Director, just to name a few of her ministries.  She has done almost everything here at Holy Name.  Rita has been a source of hope to hundreds of souls, to hundreds of our parishioners during the darkest moments of their lives, and I hope and pray that in the next few days, most especially today, we’ll take some time to thank her personally.  Deacon Chris is here with us to represent the more than one thousand members of our sister parish, Resurrection, who have been touched by Rita directly or indirectly during her years of ministry here.

We may not have the gifts and charisma of Rita but all of us, without exception, could listen to each other’s problems and difficulties.  All of us can give an encouraging word to those in distress. In short, all of us can be Christ to others in whatever little way we can.