I was reminded again of an incident that happened with Pope Francis on Pentecost Sunday — and perhaps I’ve shared this with you already, but it’s so extraordinary that it’s worth reflecting on again.
On that Sunday, as Pope Francis came out into the Square of St. Peter to celebrate the Sunday liturgy, about 200,000 people were there and they all began to cry out, “Francesco! Francesco!”, and they kept repeating that. He smiled, and finally he calmed them down and said, “That’s very nice. Very nice to be acclaimed, but,” he said, “you should not be saying ‘Francesco!’ You should be saying ‘Jesus! Jesus! He’s the one! Jesus!’ ” and that’s what comes through so clearly in today’s Scripture lesson, that Jesus is the one who is all important.
He comes before anyone else; the one who can turn our life around — Jesus — and we get that as we listen to the Scripture lessons today. You see the parallel between what happens with Elijah and what happens with Jesus and the young man who’s being carried out to be buried in the Gospel. There are some parallels. In both, the writer says, “He restored the son to his mother.” Now, Luke uses those words very determinedly, or deliberately, imitating what Elijah has said or what the writer said about Elijah, “He returned his son to his mother,” and so you begin to see immediately that there are parallels here.
In both instances, the prophet Elijah and the prophet Jesus take the initiative when the mother complains, or brings to Elijah’s attention, that her son is very, very ill. He immediately goes and gets the child, carries him upstairs to his own room, and there he ministers to him: breathes upon him and prays for him. He brings the child back and restores him to his mother, alive and healthy…