GOSPEL. ST. LUKE vii, 11-16.
(The Dead Son of the Widow. The Third Fall of Jesus.)
At that time Jesus went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with Him His disciples, and a great multitude. And when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, He said to her: Weep not. And He came near, and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And He said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying, A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited His people.
Christian soul, our divine Savior did not permit the youth of Naim to remain dead, but to the unspeakable joy of his mother, a widow, Jesus raised him to life. Yes, Christ Himself did not remain in the grave, but on the third day He rose again.
Previous to His resurrection, in His bitter passion, He fell for the third time beneath the heavy weight of the cross. But He did not remain where He had fallen. He summoned all His strength and carried the cross to the foot of Mt. Calvary. By all this our beloved Savior wished to teach us not to remain prostrate when we have fallen into sin, but with God s help to rise as quickly as possible and to stand firm. Otherwise the inclination and love for sin will grow stronger, relapses will be more frequent, horror for evil will lessen, and true contrition and improvement will become more difficult.
O Christian soul, beg God for the grace to rise from your daily sins and even from your smaller faults, and not to fall again into them; and pray for those especially who postpone their conversion from day to day.
LET US PRAY.
Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who are chastised by the fasts we have undertaken, may rejoice with holy devotion; to the end that our earthly affections being suppressed, we may more easily apprehend heavenly things.
Divine Savior, Jesus Christ, we admire Thee as much in Thy sorrow, humility and debasement in Thy third fall beneath the cross as in the miracle which Thou didst work in raising to life the dead youth of Naim. Give us the grace never to fall into the death of mortal sin; and, if we should incur this misfortune by our foolishness and wickedness, grant that, with Thy grace, we may soon rise again by penance and true contrition. Amen.