Soon afterwards he (Jesus) went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother's only son, and she was a widow, and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, rise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has risen among us!" and "God has looked favorably on his people!" Luke 7:11-16 (NRSV)
Brothers and sister, do not be weary in doing what is right. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 (NRSV)
Every so often a certain young man would arrive at the workplace of Francis Jorge Valera, from the Dominican Republic. He would ask for money or for other assistance. Sometimes Francis willingly gave him money. Other times he did so grudgingly because though he always insisted he was going to change his ways, he didn't. His addiction had destroyed his health.
The last time Francis saw him and gave him money, his health had deteriorated greatly. But Francis was caught by surprise when he raised his arms toward heaven and said a prayer of thanks to God for his life and what He had done for him.
A year went by without Francis seeing him. One day a woman whom Francis did not know came to his place of work. She was the young man's mother, and she had come to bring him a message. Her son had told her on his deathbed to seek Francis out and thank him for all he had done for him.
The apostle Paul's message is a clear reminder for us to "never tire of doing what is good." And our reading from Luke about the widow from Nain is but one example of Jesus' compassion. Today when cynicism toward the suffering of others is so prevalent, Jesus calls us to show compassion - period.
Prayer: God of grace, help us to show compassion to our sisters and brothers, even when we think they don't deserve it. We pray in the name of Jesus who shows compassion to us. Amen.