by Erik Ritland
The Word and the Church
Bible commentary following the Catholic Lectionary (which gives an overview of the entire Bible) by the Fully Alive staff
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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1 Kg 17: 17-24
Gal. 1: 11-19
Lk. 7: 11-17
In our readings today we see the power of God in action. Through his power the prophet Elijah brings a little girl back to life, St. Paul is supernaturally given his commission to be Apostle to the Gentiles, and Jesus raises the widow’s son from the dead. Each can gladly proclaim the psalm antiphon: “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me!”
After the raising of the widow’s son the crowd has an amazing, yet also apt, response: “fear seized them.” Seeing supernatural power in action is frightening. The power of God, creator and sustainer of all that is, is frightening in its glory and immensity. Here we go beyond the “rainbows and sunshine” version of Christianity that is often promulgated today into slightly murkier waters. God has real, immense power, and his glory is something that we should be in awe of. God is as intimate to us as we are, which is simultaneously comforting and frightening. The fear of the crowd gives way to joy, however, as they immediately began to “glorify God.”
Imagine the joy of both the widow and her son for this miracle. Imagine how much they loved and appreciated Jesus – and the new life that they were given through him! We should have this same overflowing love and joy, for Jesus raises us to new life each day through intimacy with him.
The raising of the widow’s son is miraculous, but the exact same miracle is given to us every day when we give our lives over to God. If we live for ourselves, justifying the wrong that we do, just going with the cultural flow of selfishness and hedonism, we are dead. We are made fully alive, newly each day, by the loving God who amazingly (and freely) gives us his love.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. He is the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, which features commentary on music, sports, and an intellectual ragbag. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
Erik Ritland received his MA in Theology in 2017. He's the founder and content manager of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, copy editor and writer for Music in Minnesota, and an acclaimed songwriter.