Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taking the mantle

Today's first reading is the mysterious departure of Elijah in the whirlwind. His ambiguous passing gave rise to the expectation that he would come again before the day of the Lord to set everything right. (Jesus famously explained that "Elijah has indeed come" and he was John the Baptist.)
When Elijah was taken up, his cloak fell to his disciple, Elisha, who was given a twofold portion of Elijah's spirit (and used it right away to divide the Jordan so that he could cross back to the other side). Wielding the rolled-up cloak like a whip over the waters, Elisha said, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" This has generally struck me as a kind of challenge, tempting God to show himself. But today I heard it as a prophetic statement, given that he was working the prototypical Israelite miracle of parting the waters: Elisha was giving notice that the Lord was acting through him now, on behalf of Israel. Elijah may have left, but God did not abandon his people.

A note about names:

We have become used to the names Elijah and Elisha, which are closer to their Hebrew versions. But Elias and Eliseus are the same two prophets, when their names are rendered from the Latin.


~Joseph the Worker said...

Thank you so much for your posts! I'm happy to find someone blogging about the daily readings each day! Wonderful!

Neuropoet said...

I love this story of Elijah and the whirlwind - Elijah is one of my favorites... I get a kick out of the reading we had a little bit ago with the prophets of Baal too. :)

Peace be with you,

Anonymous said...

To Jenny. Are you the same Jenny who is in my prayers every day and who had a recent misfortune? I will lift you up at Mass again tomorrow, spqr