Nain Dance?

When the Lord Jesus raised the young man in the little hamlet of Nain—when He raised this young man from the dead, it caused quite a stir. Understandably so. Doesn’t happen every day. I’ve celebrated a lot of funeral Masses myself, and I can tell you that I’ve never had one like that. Where the dead person got up and walked home.

So the event became the talk of the entire surrounding region. They heard about it in the Lord’s hometown of Nazareth, on the other side of the valley. They heard about it down south in Jerusalem. And John the Baptist, languishing in prison—even he heard about it.

What in the name of holy Moses is going on here? The carpenter is going from town to town, and now he has raised a young man from the dead!

We might think that people would respond to such news with joy. Certainly, many people did. “God has visited His people!” they shouted. And they danced for joy, maybe like Jacoby Jones in the endzone.

john_paul_ii_pencil_drawingBut not everyone reacted that way. Surprisingly enough. A lot of people who had known Jesus since He was a boy thought to themselves: “This man has gotten too big for his britches!” A lot of other preachers and religious charlatans gnashed their teeth with jealousy. And people who don’t like surprises—no matter how wonderful the surprise is—they did not like it.

In the beginning, the Lord had said to His people: Two paths stand before you. One leads to life, one to death. Choose life, then! said the Lord. Before many of you young uns were even born, Bl. Pope John Paul II said to us and to the world, The Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of Life!

Everyone must face the choice. Do I choose in favor of Jesus Christ, Who came to give life? Or do I choose in favor of breaking life down? Hurting myself, hurting others. Do I have faith that life is a gift that leads to eternal happiness? Or do I doubt the power of God?

We read that, when they saw Christ raise the dead man, “fear seized them all.”

If it isn’t scary–if it isn’t bigger than me, and awesome, truly awesome—if I don’t see that it demands my all, my love, my self-sacrifice—if it isn’t wonderfully scary, then it isn’t life. It isn’t the power of God. Fear seized them all because they realized: This life thing is bigger than I ever thought it was. God is real. And that is scary.

To believe in the life-giving power of the crucified Christ is not easy. It was much easier for people to scoff and try to dismiss it. Much easier to stick with smaller potatoes, like keeping my belly full and looking cool to my friends.

But let’s make a choice to step out into the scary territory of true life. Let’s follow the path of obeying God, following Christ, choosing love, kindness, and truth. God has visited His people. And there’s an endzone we can get to, where we will dance for joy forever.

Are you OR aren’t you?

The Council Fathers and Mothers?

Isaiah 45:18: Thus says the LORD…the designer and maker of the earth, who established it, not creating it to be a waste, but designing it to be lived in.

…Turning the earth into a wasteland is certainly a sin.

On the other hand, “environmentalism” has become an ersatz religion.

And the religion is having a big and strange meeting just in time for Christmas.

How better to celebrate the season, whatever anyone wants to call it, than to hurry off to Copenhagen to bail out the world and solemnize the doctrines of environmentalism, the newly emerging world religion…Hence Copenhagen, which the environmentalists envision as their version of Vatican II. (Wesley Pruden)

…Perhaps you’re wondering why you don’t read more about the Washington Wizards here.

The reason is that Tom Knott’s grim assessment of the season is painfully true…

…One lovely day on a lush hillside near the Sea of Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth raised a man from the dead. The news of this created quite a stir.

Nain in Galilee
Meanwhile, St. John the Baptist was languishing in a dungeon in a remote military fortress, east of the Dead Sea.

St. John’s disciples, always jealous of his prerogatives, visited their teacher and told him about the latest wonder that the Nazorene had worked in Galilee.

Now, St. John knew that Jesus is the Christ. The Baptist knew this before he was even born, when he leapt in his own mother’s womb at the approach of the newly pregnant Blessed Mother.

St. John was a clever, fatherly teacher. He wanted his disciples to realize for themselves what he himself knew. So the Baptist sent them off to Christ with a question.

The gospels do not report anything about the disciples ever coming back with the answer–because it was never about St. John getting an answer. It was about formulating the perfect question, so that the truth could be revealed.

Ruins of Herod's Machaerus
Ask Jesus, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we look for another?”

Are you the Christ or not?

Either He is, or He isn’t. Questions like, “Are you a great holy man and a teacher of righteousness?” or “Do you coexist and tolerate all people?” do not really get to the heart of the matter.

Tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
(Luke 7:22)

In other words: I can be as subtle as your teacher can be. He and I know the truth. Now you do, too. Messiah is here.