The following reflection is by Triona Doherty
We sometimes use quite physical imagery to describe our reaction to a sad situation - our 'heart goes out' to someone, or we find an experience 'gut wrenching' or 'heart breaking'. In today's Gospel, Luke tells us that Jesus 'felt sorry' for the widow on her way to bury her only son. But the Greek term for this response describes a very physical reaction - literally a 'turning over of the insides' with compassion for someone who is suffering. This expression occurs only three times in Luke's Gospel - the other occurrences are in two well-known parables, when the Good Samaritan takes pity on the man lying on the road and in the story of the Prodigal Son when the father welcomes back his wayward son.
Jesus is moved by compassion. He feels, in a physical way, the widow's loss. He knows this woman does not have anyone else - she is a widow and this is her only son. Apart from the obvious anguish of losing a son, his death could also mean the loss of her source of income, care and a roof over her head.
Her situation touches the very heart of the Son of God. Jesus is very human in his response, but he also shows us what God is like. I like to imagine the widow celebrating and praying in thanksgiving. The words of today's psalm would be apt: 'You have changed my mourning into dancing; O Lord my God, I will thank you forever.'