THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVI – SUNDAY
LESSON: LUKE 7:11-17
It depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy. Romans 9:16
In this Gospel the evangelist once again sets before us a divine miracle. In it he wants to encourage us to direct our hearts to God if we find ourselves in a situation like the one in which the widow found herself. This account was not written for the sake of this widow but for the sake of those who would hear the Gospel until the end of the world. We must also be counted among the latter.
In the first place, it should be quite obvious to all of us that the kindness and grace conferred on this woman by Christ was altogether gratuitous; she did not earn it or merit it. She goes through the city with her friends, where there is nothing but wailing and weeping. It never even entered the thought of this good woman that she would bring back her son into the city alive. This is not her desire, and she does not ask for it. Even less did she merit it. Any idea of Christ’s intervention had never occurred to her; she did not know Christ, nor did she know that He helped people. All preceding merit and preparation are ruled out here.
This has all been recorded so that we may draw a general conclusion from this which applies in the case of all benefits received from God. Just as this widow obtained a blessing freely and out of pure grace alone, solely and only because Christ was moved to pity, so we, too, receive such blessings without any merit on our part and even without seeking them. It is always God who takes the initiative. He always lays the first stone.
What is the reason for this? He takes pity on us; hence, it remains God’s grace. If our merits counted here, it would not be grace. Accordingly, as a result of this, we can say, “You are a gracious God; you do good to those who do not deserve it.”
SL 11:1646 (1-3)
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Your mercy and grace towards us are never-ending and always abounding. Continue to bestow Your free mercy and grace upon us, in and through our Savior. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 5:127-139.