Tuesday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The miracles in the gospel and life
Soon afterward he journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow … When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak … Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.” Lk 7,11-16
In the Gospels, we can find the miracles of the call, those which we could call of discipleship and those of mission. Miracles are signs of the Jesus’s Lordship and they are all born of his compassion for the human fortunes; nevertheless, the feature of the sign prevails in the miracles of the call and mission, while in those of discipleship compassion prevails. The miracles of the call are those which occur in the beginning of the progress of faith and witness that Jesus is Lord. Just think about the healings that Jesus performed when John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask him if he was really the Messiah. On the other hand, the miracles of the mission are the signs promised to the apostles at the time of the great commitment to evangelize, and they also speak for the lordship of Jesus “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature… These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages… They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’… But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs” (Mk 16,15-20). This passage by Mark points out very well that the miracles of mission, as promised to the Apostles, correspond to the miracles of the call for those who will believe. In other words, there is a sense of circularity in the Jesus’s signs: those which for somebody are the miracles of the call are the miracle of the mission for others. At the beginning of our spiritual journey, we too saw the miracle of Maria Carmela’s healing, as well as many others; and whenever we have witnessed the Gospel, we have seen the miracles that the Lord has done also to confirm our own word. Between the miracles of the call and the ones of the mission, there are those of discipleship, in which the Jesus’s compassion prevails over the sign. This category includes the multiplication of the loaves, the continuous miracle of Providence and the resurrection told in today’s Gospel, which arises from Jesus’s compassion for this widow whose only son had died. The miracles of compassion are the most beautiful ones.