In this video, Metropolitan Jacques (El-Khoury) of Buenos Aires and all Argentine explores God’s response to suffering through the Gospel story of raising the widow’s son (20th Sunday after Pentecost, Luke 7:11-17). He emphasizes Jesus’s boundless compassion and encourages us to extend that compassion beyond ourselves, praying fervently for others in times of affliction. By shifting our focus from our afflictions to lifting others’ sufferings through heartfelt prayers, we invite divine grace to alleviate our burdens. Ultimately, he reminds us that God’s response comes in two ways—direct intervention or walking with us through our experiences, deepening our connection with Him.
Video source: The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
Balamand Monastery, Lebanon, October 9th, 2022
If we want Jesus to be present in our life…
And notice when the Scripture says that He had compassion, the crowd was not with Him. They were strangers to Him. So Jesus has compassion even on strangers. And He has compassion for the suffering.
We sometimes ask ourselves this question, we have many hardships and afflictions in life and we have faith that Jesus is compassionate, but sometimes we feel that there’s a divine silence. There’s no response. And sometimes it may cause a stumble to some people.
Certainly, the problem is not with God’s compassion. God is mighty and able to perform any miracle, and lift any affliction. The problem is not with Jesus’s compassion, but with our compassion.
I’ll explain it better. When I have an affliction, a serious adversity, and my neighbor has an affliction and a serious adversity, if, at that moment, I forget my affliction putting it aside and I pray to the Lord with pain to lift my neighbor’s affliction, the Lord will lift both my affliction and my neighbor’s.
But unfortunately when we have trouble or hardship or affliction we think only of ourselves. We don’t have compassion. We don’t forget our afflictions and think of others’ afflictions and lift a fervent prayer, not a lukewarm prayer. A person with a compassionate heart prays for others who are in trouble with pain. A heartfelt prayer with pain is precious in God’s eyes. So Jesus gives the divine command and uses the imperative form and rises the dead son and He presents him to his mother. And He gives condolence not only to the mother, but to all the crowd. He is revealing gradually Himself that He is the Son of God. That’s why the crowd’s reaction was “they glorified God, saying: A great prophet has risen up among us”. [Luke 7:16] The word “glorified God” is also very important.
When our Lord Jesus lifts our trouble and affliction, what would our response be? Do we glorify and thank God or do we forget? Or we might say “what a good coincidence”… In the end it says: “they All glorified God.” The crowd that was with Jesus and the crowd that was with the widowed woman.
The Gospel says to us: when you have a trouble, hardship, affliction, or whatever pain, think about each other, and carry each other’s burdens.
Our Lord is Almighty. He has two ways of responding. Either He lifts the affliction with one word or He reaches out His hand and lifts it with us. Those who are parents here know very well that when you give something to your children easily they don’t appreciate it or know its worth. Sometimes children should ‘suffer’ a bit so that they appreciate the value of the parents’ gifts and sacrifices.
So sometimes our Lord doesn’t lift the affliction, but He puts His hand with ours and makes us feel His hand with us and thus we enter into an experience with Him and know Him better.
So my dear ones when we are faced with afflictions, let’s not despair. Let’s keep our faith firm in God and have more compassion towards each other so that God can, because He desires and is willing to, make a miracle in our life, but probably He awaits us to have a little compassion on each other.
May God strengthen you and His grace keep you. Amen.