19th Sunday in Ordinary Time B18
Elijah had just shown God’s power over the prophets of Baal. And then he killed them, all 450! This didn’t sit well with Jezebel, the Queen of Israel, since she worshipped Baal. So she threatened to do the same to Elijah, i.e., kill him. Elijah had had it with this prophesying stuff. He was doing all the right things for God and felt that God was hanging him out to dry. He ran away to the desert and prayed for death. God heard his prayer and answered differently. Instead God offered him nourishment, called him to walk further to Horeb, a.k.a. Mount Sinai, where God would appear to him; and, after choosing Elisha to be his successor taking him up to heaven in a fiery chariot. “According to the story, the one thing God did not do for Elijah was allow him to die.”
How often do we pray for a different result than what we are experiencing now? Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the bad news all around us either personally (Illness, job security, etc.) or in the headlines that wake us up each day on TV, radio, or in the paper: war, violence, shady deals by those elected to serve, sexual abuse of young people, cover-ups made in the name of protecting the institution or the reputation of the perpetrator, a wink and a nudge instead of revealing what is known to many. In regard to the latter, how could a person live with him- or herself?
Like Elijah, the members of the Church, of which I’m one, may feel abandoned by God or feeling: “What’s the use of trying?”
Like Elijah, we to hear the words “Eat, lest the journey will be too long for you.”
Unlike Elijah, we receive the true bread come down from heaven, Jesus, the Bread of Life, so that we can recommit ourselves to the virtues preached by Paul to the Ephesians:
“All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God …”