Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan.
Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.”
He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven.
Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.
He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
If you want to be a great banker or golfer or parent, it is important to seek out people who are already accomplished in whatever field you choose. Learn from them, play the game with them, hang out with them, experience how it is done with them, be challenged by them. I think this is also true in the spiritual life. If you want to grow in relationship with God, it is a great help to be with others who are already ahead of you on that road.
Today’s first reading recounts just such a relationship between the young Elisha and the old and wise prophet Elijah. It is a beautiful relationship in which Elisha wants to be at Elijah’s side at all times in order to soak up all that Elijah was. In response to Elijah’s question, “Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you,” Elisha requests “may I receive a double portion of your spirit.”
Who are the people in my life to whom I might make the same request as did Elisha?
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.
Lord, we thank you for those who have inspired our faith by their goodness and reliance on you. May we be your light this day through our dependence on you.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!