Then Elijah arose, a prophet like fire, and his word burned like a torch. He brought a famine upon them, and by his zeal he made them few in number. By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, and also three times brought down fire. How glorious you were, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Whose glory is equal to yours? You raised a corpse from death and from Hades, by the word of the Most High. You sent kings down to destruction, and famous men, from their sickbeds. You heard rebuke at Sinai and judgments of vengeance at Horeb.
You anointed kings to inflict retribution, and prophets to succeed you. You were taken up by a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with horses of fire. At the appointed time, it is written, you are destined to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob. Happy are those who saw you and were adorned with your love! For we also shall surely live.
When Elijah was enveloped in the whirlwind, Elisha was filled with his spirit. He performed twice as many signs, and marvels with every utterance of his mouth. Never in his lifetime did he tremble before any ruler, nor could anyone intimidate him at all. Nothing was too hard for him, and when he was dead, his body prophesied. In his life he did wonders, and in death his deeds were marvelous.
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
In today’s reading from Sirach we hear brief summaries of two great prophets. I think of Elijah as a sledgehammer who has confrontations with King Ahab, the prophets of Baal, and Jezebel. Elisha, on the other hand, had more of a velvet touch and consistently comforts those who are in need.
In almost ten years of being a Jesuit, I have learned the importance of needing to confront as well as the need to comfort. As Christians it is our responsibility to confront the injustices in our world but also to confront the ones that we may perpetrate. We are also called to comfort those who are hurting, some of whom may lash out and try to hurt us. However, we do all these things not because of a good feeling or acknowledgement, but because that is what a relationship with God calls us to do.
In what ways can I confront the injustices that happen in my day? Whom can I comfort and support this week?
Lord, strengthen our courage to confront unkindness, gossip, jealous quips and belittling remarks. Help us to reach out to those who need comfort and encouragement. Let us do these things not because of a good feeling or acknowledgement, but because that is what a relationship with you calls us to do.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!