In today’s Gospel at Matins in the Roman Breviary and in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, is the story of Jesus raising from death to life a man in the city of Naim (cf. Lc 7, 11-16). We are told that the man was carried out of the city in a loculum (coffin or bier). Saint Ambrose reflects:
‘This dead man was carried to the grave on a bier made from the four elements. But he had the hope of rising again, because he was borne on wood. For though it had before been a source of loss to us, yet, after Christ had touched it, it began to help us to Life; that it might be a sign that salvation was to overflow to the Church through the yoke of the Cross. For we lie lifeless upon a bier, when either the fire of unrestrained desires consumes us, or when coldness overflows in us, or the power of our soul is weakened by slothful habit of body’.
The Church comes to the aid of the death of the soul, as symbolized by the death of this man from Naim, the weeping of his mother who is also a widow, and the great multitude. Saint Ambrose continues:
‘If there is a grave sin which you cannot wipe away by the tears of your repentance, let the Church, your Mother, weep for you, while the multitude stands by. Soon you will rise from death and begin to speak the words of life, and fear will come upon them all; for by the example of one, all are converted. They also shall glorify God, Who has given us such remedies to escape death’.
Jesus waits for us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation!