Tenth Sunday In Ordinary Time
Comforting the bereaved
Points to note
Coming so quickly after the past Easter season, this reading puts us back in touch with the theme of new life.
Death can be a touchy subject for many and there are some who thinks that we should not burden children with such sombre concepts that even adults find difficulties with. As such, touching on the subject of bereavement may be suitable only for the older ones. However, even small children may grasp the idea of loss, particularly when they have lost a beloved pet. Where we have children in the group, even if only one, who have encountered loss, whether of a person or a pet, we can with sensitivity encourage the children to share the event. Keep the questions from the other children under control as sometimes questions asked out of ignorance can be hurtful or confusing.
Once we have taken the discussion as far as we can, move on to the subject of new life and the reunion we all look forward to our loved ones.
Acclamation before the Gospel
A great prophet has appeared among us;
God has visited his people
Explain that Jesus has just begun his final journey to Jerusalem. In the previous Sunday, he has just healed the servant of the centurion.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke
All: Glory to you O Lord
Jesus went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people. When he was near the gate of the town it happened that a dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her. ‘Do not cry’ he said. Then he went up and put his hand on the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, ‘Young man, I tell you to get up.’ And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Everyone was filled with awe and praised God saying, ‘A great prophet has appeared among us; God has visited his people.’ And this opinion of him spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
(This part can be used to start off the discussion but move onto the topic of new life if he discussion gets difficult.)
Have anyone ever had a pet who died? Let them describe the event. Gently lead them on to also describe how they felt about the loss. Ask how long were they upset for and how they got over their upset. Explain the period when they were upset over the loss of their pet is called bereavement and all people go through the stage. Some people take longer to get through it and others go through it rather quickly.
Has anyone ever been to a funeral? Many would not have but they could have attended a wake or something similar. Discuss how the atmosphere was like at a funeral or a wake. It is interesting that at a wake, people tend to start off being sombre but after the prayers people tend to lighten up at the fellowship, (except maybe the immediate family or other close relative/friend) unless the loss was sudden and unexpected. Explain that this is the period of bereavement. Different people take different periods of time to go through this period.
Discuss the gospel story and who met the funeral procession as they were on the way to the funeral? Discuss what Jesus did when he met the funeral procession. Why? Can we remember some promise of Jesus about new life? Jesus is the resurrection and the life. So, how many people did he raise from the dead? The man in this story, Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus and himself.
Is Jesus still going around raising people from the dead? No. So how does he now keep this promise about new life? Well, we can either wait for the resurrection of the dead at the end of time. Or we can pray for our beloved that they may enter heaven quickly. Those who do enter heaven can then enjoy new life with those whom they have loved and have gone ahead of them. We too can join them eventually, but only if we hold on to the promise of Jesus and show the new life that we get to everyone.
Discuss how we show we have new life to other people. By giving, loving, etc.