Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
The miracles of Jesus are an expression of His Lordship. Be it miracles of healing, driving out demons, or mastering nature, the miracles He performs stand as a concrete sign of His dominion. So, when we see Jesus raise the widow’s son, two things about this dominion stand out. The first is its extent: that He is the Lord of life. The second is the reason why He exercises this dominion. In Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part I, his character of King Louis XVI continually abuses his power, simply saying each time “it’s good to be the king.” His lordship is for the benefit of himself. But as Jesus’ lordship is for the benefit of others.
This was a truth lived out until the end by the martyrs we celebrate today. Cornelius was pope and Cyprian was bishop of Carthage in a day when it was good to be neither. Yet whether it was striving to heal divisions within or comfort people as Emperor Valerian began a new persecution, they used their authority to care for those under them. When Cyprian was beheaded, he even continued to preach, exhorting and comforting those around him until the end. As with the widow of Nain, the Lord saw the pain they endured, and used His lordship to sustain them. With this experience, they likewise labored for others. The Lord of life likewise seeks to dry our own tears, as He did with the widow of Nain. Let us pray to accept the consolation Jesus offers, and work to be a source of consolation to others in our lives.