Sunday, October 6, 2013

O Lord, Do you know my pain? Luke 7:11-16


O Lord, Do you know my pain?
By Fr Ted Toppses

Sunday Sermon on the Third Sunday of Luke 2013

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and Of the Holy Spirit, Amen

O Lord, Do you know my pain?

O Lord, Do you see my struggle?

I am lost in the world; will you find me and bring me home?
Gifts are something we do not deserve, but rather are given to us because of love.  Divine Love, the Love of God sees all that we are, all that we will be, and what will become of us.  One mystery of life is that the divine patience and love of God gives us true freedom, and choice, even though God knows already what is to come.  

This morning’s Gospel reading is from St. Luke chapter 7 and begins this way…
At that time, Jesus went to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her....

In the days of Christ, a woman was unable to support herself without a man to provide for her.  In this case, this widow lost her only son.  Her grief was twofold because she not only lost her son, but she also lost the only means for her support being also a widow.  Her tears from sorrow were very large and painful.  She herself did not approach the Lord, but it was Our Lord who approached her out of compassion and brought back her son to life. 

In the Gospel the Greek word used for compassion is ἐσπλαγχνίσθη. This word in Greek latterly means “moved with compassion”.  Compassion in the Greek language is not only defined as a deep awareness and sympathy of another’s suffering, but also moving to action because of compassion. 

God many times in our lives acts on our behalf even though we have not yet asked.  He has compassion on our suffering, acting to heal us even when we are at times not asking.  Prayer connects us with the One who already knows our true needs.

Christ’s coming compassion is prophesied in
Isaiah 49.13: Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones.

Throughout the scriptures there are many examples of Christ’s compassion.  Jesus had compassion on the crowds, for the sick, for the hungry, for ignorance, and for true needs, and to give us eternal life through Himself taking on our suffering and sin. 

Let us now ask ourselves:

Are we ever alone? Never, for we can always be intimately close to God and we have only to open our hearts in prayer to know that He is there.  If we seek the world rather than God and reject Christ we build a callous over our heart where we no longer feel God’s touch, warmth and compassion.  We must be cautious because we can still reject the Lord who dwells so close to us, and welcome the enemy to come within us leading to our destruction. 

Is our suffering going unknown? No, for God has compassion and love for us beyond our comprehension.

Is our suffering meaningless?  No, for if we bear it with faith, we transform this darkness of our life into saving light that molds and bonds us to God.  Our suffering becomes our cross which leads to resurrection and heaven, through God’s Gifts and Grace.

The Gospel Concludes this way…
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!"

Let us now affirm:

We are not alone. 

We are truly loved by God more than we can comprehend.

We may weep for a period of time in this life, but through Jesus Christ our Lord and God who destroyed death by His death our tears will turn into eternal joy.  Our suffering will turn into healing and blessing.  Our death will turn into true life and we will dwell in the kingdom of God. 

This world sometimes appears to have prison shackles on us because of this suffering and sinful worldly existence; however these shackles cannot hold the spirit from prayer and communion with God.  In prayer we can begin to truly know God, His Love, His unending Compassion and the Kingdom of God. 

Pray and find God who is waiting for you at the gates of your heart.
Pray and be free.
Pray and feel God’s love and peace.
Pray and enter the Kingdom of God even while living this life.
Pray as often as you can during your daily life.
And everyday take time to be in a place of quietness and solitude and pray even for a short time.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.
Amen.