Faith and Justice and Lifelink

Really Seeing the One Really in Need

Commentary from Fr Michael Tate and reproduced here with his kind permission.

From Luke's Gospel of this Sunday:

"Jesus went to a town called Nain, … it happened that a dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her. 'Do not cry,' he said. Then he went up and put his hand on the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, 'Young man, I tell you to get up'. And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Everyone was filled with awe and praised God saying, 'A great prophet has appeared among us; God has visited his people.' And this opinion of him spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside."

Jesus is the body language of God. God is the One who liberates human beings from the apparent finality of death. So it is only natural, as it were, that Jesus should liberate this man from the death which has his friends processing with his body through the streets of Nain.

But the man and his friends are not the main focus of Jesus. It may be daring to say that Jesus did not bring the man back to life out of concern for the man. 'When the Lord saw her, he felt compassion towards her' - not him! Who is this 'her' whom Jesus really focused on, particularly saw in that little procession of mourners?

She was a widow in a patriarchal society. The dead son is not a youngster but a man. He is the breadwinner and protector for his mother. Without an able man in her household, she will be reduced to poverty and be very vulnerable.

And so the Gospel tells us that Jesus 'felt compassion towards her'. The Greek actually says that his guts were in turmoil with pity. So, he does what any gutsy person would do in the situation: his uttermost to help her.

We may say that Jesus restored the life of this man in order to restore the life of the mother. The Gospel emphasises this by telling us the purpose of this saving ministry of Jesus: 'He gave him to his mother.' She would now have enough to eat, and be able to live out her years in a secure household.

It is obvious that Jesus had the most alert eyes, always on the lookout for the person whom society would relegate to a miserable existence without some saving intervention. How is our society organised? Can we see those who are vulnerable? Does the mere seeing send a shudder of compassion through our body, as it did for Jesus? What can our intervention be - in a society organised on a scale and with much greater complexity than was the little town in Nain?

God does not respond to dehumanising situations by extraterrestrial power. He needs human beings imitating Jesus Christ in this regard. Only when we respond in life-giving ways will we be able to say: 'God has visited his people.'

This week also marks the Launch of Lifelink

What is lifelink?

A 'Banner' for agencies who support the most vulnerable in our local Perth community.

What is its purpose?

Unite and bring together the dozen Catholic Church intervention agencies who seek to respond in life-giving ways to human needs in our society.

Who are the people who receive help?

Lifelink supports about 31,000 poor & vulnerable people in the Perth each year, and includes care for those who are homeless or unemployed, suffer domestic violence, have addictions or mental health issues, have a disability, are migrants or refugees, those in short-term crisis situations.

Don't these agencies receive government support?

Yes, they are given generous government grants, but need to make up a shortfall of about $1,000,000.

What are schools asked to do?

  • Think about and see the need in our very own local community
  • Learn how the Church reaches out in life-giving ways
  • Participate in raising funds - for various Lifelink agencies
  • Enjoy working together

What will John XXIII College be doing?

The College will have its Lifelink Campaign from 17th June to 1st July. Year 11 students will have a guest speaker from Shopfront, and will lead fundraising activities in the College. The College community will be asked to give money as well as items for Shopfront (more detail next week.)

Where can I find more information?

Sacramental Program

Three classes in Primary have been preparing for Sacraments this term: Year 3 for Reconciliation, Year 4 for Eucharist and Year 6 for Confirmation. The College proudly sends out these students, with their families to celebrate the sacraments in their parish communities. It is a special moment for students and families so let us remember them in our thoughts and prayer.

We would like to congratulate the students who recently celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Scarborough.

A group of Year 6 students will celebrate Confirmation in the coming week at St Joseph's Parish, Subiaco and Year 3 students will celebrate Reconciliation at St Cecilia's Parish, Floreat/Wembley.

This year the College Sacramental program is family-focused, parish-based and school supported, in line with archdiocesan guidelines. Enquiries: or

Mary-Anne Lumley
Liturgist and Parish Liaison