1Kgs 19:4-8; Eph 4:30-5:2; Jn 6: 41-51
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Things are not going well for the prophet Elijah in this Sunday’s first reading. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, rulers of the northern kingdom of Israel, want him dead. He is the only prophet of Yahweh remaining in the north who has not given in to the Queen’s determination to establish temples to the pagan gods of the Phoenicians, her native people, in Israel. As the passage opens, Elijah is on the run, completely alone in the middle of the desert. Hunger, thirst and exhaustion are getting the best of him and his intent seems to be to lie down and die.
“But then an angel touched him.” Soon, having been refreshed in body and in spirit, he will return to his prophetic duites with renewed energy and begin the process of selecting and preparing his successor. Just when it seemed the end was in sight, Elijah was given the grace to go on and to hand on the promise of the Covenant to the next generation.
So, here’s my question: When was the last time that you were touched by an angel? By what means did God give you the strength to carry out your prophetic task? (We are engaged in prophesy whenever we proclaim an important truth before the Powers That Be who do not wish to hear it and are threatened by it. Ironically, most of the time that message is a message of Hope that promises freedom and joy to those who are willing to listen and allow themselves to be changed.)
Perhaps right now, as you are reading this, you feel you have been pushed to the very limits of exhaustion and despair and hunger and thirst yourself. If so, take a moment to breath in and out slowly and deeply. Enter for a moment into the quiet and calm. Remain still.
Can you feel the delicate touch of the angel?
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
P.S. Keep in your prayers this week both the Vatican and the Leadership Council of Women Religious. Pray that the Holy Spirit will lead both to recognize and honor the truth of the other.