Today’s gospel reading from Luke (7:11-17) relays an episode in which Jesus, about to enter the city of Nain, sees a funeral procession in which a widow mourns her only son who has died. Pitying her, Jesus stops the group, touches the coffin, and tells the dead man to arise, which he does. The people are afraid and amazed, leading them to spread the word about Jesus far and wide.
At this morning’s Mass, my pastor made a wonderful observation. He invoked the words from the cross, “'[Jesus] said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son’; then [Jesus] said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother’” (Jn 19:26-27), to help understand Jesus’ motivation for raising the dead man. Anticipating His own death, which would leave His widowed mother heartbroken at the loss of her only child, Jesus gave the son back to His mother to her great joy. I would take this further and say that Jesus would restore Himself to His mother through His own power as well. We only hear of three persons in the gospels whom Jesus raised the dead (this man, Jairus’s daughter, and, of course, Lazarus). In this case, unlike the others, Jesus performed the miracle entirely without prompting from, or discussion with, anyone else. This was something He had to do, an internal prompting. Just like Jesus gave this son to his mother, and to all of us in its recording in scripture, so He gave His own mother to us in entrusting her to John.