June 9, 2013 – Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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If you visit AGS very often, then you have probably figured out that the first reading and the Gospel always have a connection. This week, the connection is pretty easy to see. At first glance they seem like almost the same story!

In the first reading, Elijah prays over a widow’s dead child and God restores him to life. In the Gospel, Jesus touches the coffin of a young man, the only son of a widow, and raises him from the dead! Pretty remarkable stuff!! So…what is the message here?

For me, I find it in the words of the Psalm:

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

I bet there are times when you feel like things are just hopeless and there is no answer. Well, this just is NOT true!

I like how both of these stories are NOT just about a child being raised from the dead (which is probably enough miracle for anybody!) but about the joy of returning that child to his mother. Imagine loosing your husband, your love, your only source of support and then suddenly, your only child. How hopeless must this have seemed to these two women. And then, from the depths of despair, God changes their “mourning into dancing!” They have truly been rescued. Praise God!

But also, miracles sometimes look different than we think. My son’s best friend as a small boy was a kid named Kyle. Kyle fought a very brave battle with brain cancer and died as a young boy. It was just devastating. Devastating for his family, for their friends, for the small Catholic school where Kyle attended with his sister. I have never cried so hard at a funeral as I did that day, looking at Kyle’s parents and sister standing around that kid sized coffin.

Nothing changes that… But sometimes, from our hardest times, God gives us much in return. There is a love and generosity and tenderness in them that truly changes me every time we hear from them. They have provided great inspiration to many in their fundraising efforts for pediatric brain cancer through The Kyle O’Connell Foundation, an organization they created and named after their son.

ags-June-9-2013This year Kyle would have graduated from High School. Just this past weekend the foundation put on a 5k run to raise money. Look at these joyful faces of his classmates, remembering and honoring Kyle. What a beautiful witness of “turning Mourning into dancing.”

I’ve discovered in my life that here is a kind of “dancing” that comes NOT from simply never having anything bad happen, but it comes from actually experiencing the “mourning” and learning that God is there even in the midst of it. The loss is real, but the love and kindness and good things that bring dancing, even in tears, are also very, very real. God has never abandoned you.

I bet you have taken it for granted a few times when things looked pretty bleak and somehow, someway, God brought joy…perhaps instead of pain…or perhaps in the midst of it.

Maybe as soon as things turned around, you were thinking, “Whew…That was lucky!” I think probably, it wasn’t luck at all. This week, when we sing or say that psalm, don’t just absent mindedly sing along, but let it be a prayer of real trust in the Lord for all he gives, both in good and hard times!

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