One of the greatest fears a parent faces is losing a child. Before our first child was born, I woke up from a deep sleep with an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety. This was new territory for me: every inch of the world felt dangerous, and I felt helpless. All I could do was pray. When our child—a son—was born, I entered new territory again, the experience of pure joy. But still, with all three of our children, joy is always tempered with worry.

I can only imagine the widow’s pain at losing her only child. To make matters worse, life without her son would be tough in a patriarchal society.

When Jesus shows compassion and restores the young man to life, I want to stand up and cheer. All my parental fears fly away. Faith becomes a superpower against the worst of possible circumstances.

But on deeper reflection, we see the real point:   Jesus goes to great lengths—this time violating purity laws—to reach out to those in the greatest need. Whether bringing a son back to life or sharing a meal with tax collectors, Jesus restores people to right relationships with each other, and with God.

Today, let’s reflect on ways God is calling us to new life. How can we be agents of compassion and healing, especially for those in the greatest need?

—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life