Tag Archives: Learning from Jesus Christ

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: B Elijah, Prophet on the Run

 

For the past few weeks the Old Testament readings at Mass on Sunday from the Book of Exodus have focused on the journey the whole Israelite community made through the desert after being freed by God from enslavement in Egypt. Today, the Old Testament reading at Mass from the Book of Kings recalls the journey of one man, the Prophet Elijah, who fled from the wicked King Ahab and his notorious wife Jezebel.

The Book of Exodus reminds us that God is with us as a people making our way to the Kingdom. The Book of Kings, as it tells the story of Elijah, reminds us that God’s with us individually as we make our personal journey through life.

Elijah is one of the greatest and most powerful of the prophets. He raises people from the dead and brings fire down from heaven on his enemies. He causes the rain to stop in punishment for unbelief. At the time of Jesus people wondered if Jesus weren’t Elijah appearing again. When Jesus is transfigured on the mountain, Moses and Elijah, two great figures from the Old Testament, appear at his side.

Yet, Elijah leaves no writings, as most of the prophets do, which means we know him mainly from the life he leads.

According to the Book of Kings, Elijah spends most of his life fleeing from Ahab and his wife Jezebel, his mortal enemies. They follow him from water hole to water hole as he flees south from northern Israel. He has to hide in mountain caves and isolated wadis in the desert, with scarcely enough to eat. Elijah may be a powerful prophet, but most of time he’s a prophet on the run.

It’s a difficult, humbling flight. A popular icon of Elijah pictures him hand to his head, wondering if he will make it, as a raven hovers behind him bringing bread for the day. He’s living through a desperate drought; the king and his all his followers are after him. He scrounges for food, even relying on a poor widow with almost nothing of her own. He wishes God would end it all.

The powerful prophet is helpless. He’s living through a drought that God alone can lift. He needs food that God alone can give. He has to wait for God alone to act.

Yet Elijah learns from this experience. It trains him to see. From experience, the prophet learns to see what others may not see, and so he sees God’s redeeming presence in the far-off tiny cloud that promises rain and the whisper of a wind that says God is here, or in a poor widow whom most would say is useless.

In Jesus’ time, people were hoping for a Messiah. Elijah was one type of Messiah some hoped for. He’s closest to the kind of Messiah Jesus was.

Isn’t that true? Isn’t Elijah on the run like Jesus in the mystery of his Incarnation and Passion? “He humbled himself, taking on the form of a slave.” That humbling led to death on a cross. He ended his life a rejected, helpless prophet, yet God raised him up in power.

Elijah invites us to learn from the journey we make, particularly from our experiences of weakness and death. We learn to see through the mystery of the cross. We gain the greatest wisdom through this mystery. What wisdom is better than the wisdom that sees God’s power in a tiny cloud, the slight whisper of a breeze, the helplessness of the poor? That’s a wisdom our times can use.

Mission: Plainville, Ct April 4

Learning from Jesus Christ

We know Jesus Christ through the scriptures, and one goal of the Second Vatican Council was to promote the reading of scripture in the liturgy and catechesis of the church.

Scholars and believers have brought new insights from the scriptures into our faith and our church.  Our task now is to let the scriptures nourish our prayer and our reflections on our faith.

That’s a goal of our mission this week.

In the morning Masses we are going to reflect on the daily readings for Lent.

In the evening services for Monday and Tuesday we are going to reflect on the part of the Gospel of Matthew called the Sermon on the Mount which is read in the first part of lent. Jesus, our Teacher, tells us how to live and how to pray.

On Wednesday, we will go to another mountain, Mount Calvary, to learn from Jesus how to love.

This morning, the story of the official who approaches Jesus asking that he heal his son who is dying draws our attention to the mystery of death. Why does it happen? What does Jesus teach us about death?

He came to conquer death. “Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus come in glory.”

The two most important moments of our life are now and at the hour of our death.

Holy Mary, mother of God,

pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.