“Increase the Harvest of Your Righteousness”

On the 18th Sunday after Pentecost and the third Sunday of the lectionary readings from Luke, Fr. Matthew Howell begins by contrasting the context of the death of legendary Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus to the grief of the widow of Nain whom Jesus encounters in today’s gospel. He then points out that Jesus’ body is lifegiving, and wonders aloud why we often walk away from our own encounter with Christ’s immaculate Body in the liturgy unchanged, unhealed, and feeling no closer to God than before. He then explains how we need to invest in our spiritual life, sowing seeds of love, generosity, faith, and repentance in the Church if we want to “increase the harvest of righteousness.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Brethren, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

Luke 7:11-16

At that time, Jesus went to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!