I read an article by Rita Ariyoshi in the journal Liguorian (v 96, 2008). I would like to present to you some excerpts from the same. She names the widow as Talma and the young man as Azarias the skilled carpenter. The mother is presented as the one who always complained about so many things. She had so many reasons to grumble. Her husband who was deep religious man failed to provide sufficiently for the family due to his poverty and died all a sudden. The son kept postponing his marriage which meant she had no daughter in law to help her with house chores. It was at this stage the son died leaving her all by herself.
As the coffin is carried towards the burial ground, Jesus came with yet another crowd in the opposite direction. The funeral crowd expected the other crowd in the opposite direction to give way to them but the leader came straight to Talma and told her, ‘ Do not cry’. Many thought she was going to blurt out to this person who asked her to stop crying, because she had every right to cry for her son. But she stopped crying and looked at Jesus gracefully.
Jesus touches the coffin and restores life in Azhariah. He gives back the biggest treasure of this poor widow, which she thought she had lost forever. The young man comes back to his earthly life. But what happened to him after gaining new life?
‘He did work more slowly. A certain peace had come upon him since the day he had died. It settled on him like a blanket, drowsily creeping into every muscle and pore so that he noticed each passing moment of his life with a detached bemusement.
How long Yahweh, until you call me again? He wished for lions to tear him apart, thieves to murder him. Then gazing down the long, empty road ahead, he thought of those unforgettable eyes upon him’
He looked back at the town and ahead at the road and knew that the only way to paradise lay in Nain. ‘How long O God?’ His tears were most bitter
The passage recalls the raising of the son of the widow of Zarephath by Elijah 1 Kgs 17: 8-24. Jesus comes to a town (Nain as did Elijah; a widow is met at the gate of the town (17:10); the son of the widow is restored to life (17: 22). The only difference between the two episodes is, Jesus raises the widow’s son by a command of his powerful word, whereas Elijah had to stretch himself over the child three times.