The word which Luke uses in our Gospel reading today is "compassion." Jesus began his struggle with death by having compassion on this widow whose son had died. And then he speaks a word of comfort and hope: "Do not weep," he says.
He puts compassion into action. Ignoring their rules of cleanliness and purity, he walks right up to the stretcher on which they carried her son and touches it, saying, "Young man, I say to you, rise!" With this powerful word, the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
Jesus gave him back to his mother. Did you catch that? Because it's very significant. Jesus didn't only raise the young man, but he gave back to the woman her only real chance of surviving.
For the only Social Security system of the ancient world was for a woman to have a large family, especially sons. Women had no opportunity for financial independence like today.
Their only chance of survival was to somehow be yoked to a man. In the case of this widow, the only men in her life had now died. She was the epitome of vulnerability; the juggernaut of death would surely scoop her up next. But Jesus, the giver of life, collided with this procession of death, and he had compassion on her.
Compassion makes us vulnerable. Jesus became vulnerable with this widow. He had compassion on her.
Armed only with the truth of compassion for the victims of the powers of death, Jesus did in fact become vulnerable even to the point of his own death. He didn't just speak a word of compassion, he lived it.
And the forces of death scooped him up, too. But only for three days. For this powerful word of compassion is also God's word of life. The word that Jesus spoke to this young man -"Rise up!" - is the same word that God speaks to all of us through Jesus' resurrection.
And it is now we who are Jesus body in this world, who are left to speak that powerful word of life, the word of compassion for the victims of the powers of death.
And we have to ask ourselves, "Which procession am I part of, that funeral procession, the juggernaut of the powers of death? Or Christ's procession of life armed with compassion and vulnerable in the face of death?"