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Sunday Sharing

 

“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you.”

Years ago my husband and I were members of the Palatine Jaycees. While the Jaycees sponsored many events the biggest one was the annual 4th of July celebration. For months we would meet and make plans for a week-long celebration for forty-thousand people. It was exhausting. When it was over all we wanted to do was sleep for a week. If you have ever planned a big event you know what I mean. We put everything we have into something that can last a week, a day or even a few hours. When it is over we might say: “I’ll never do that again,” or “next time I will simplify.” We need down time to reenergize.

Our first reading this week begins in the middle of a story. You are not told why Elijah is so tired, and wants to die. If you go back and read 1 Kings 18 you will learn that Elijah has been in a battle with the prophets of the false god Baal. It is a battle between Elisha’s God and the gods of Queen Jezebel. Elisha strikes down the 450 prophets of Baal and is now fleeing for his life from Jezebel. Elisha is exhausted. He has done what God commanded and he just wants to throw in the towel. 

This story is a lesson about how God challenges us in those times as disciples when we are totally drained. We don’t know if we can take another step, yet God is persistent with us as he was with Elijah. God needs Elijah to continue his ministry, and so he sends down his messenger with bread and water to feed Elijah. While it takes two tries by the messenger of God, Elijah finally gets up and resumes his walk across the desert to Mt. Horeb.

Like Elijah we may find ourselves wishing to rest under the “broom tree” until we feel we are ready to take on a new challenge. In the Gospel today Jesus tells us that he is “the living bread that comes from heaven.” The bread that Jesus gives us is meant to sustain us on our journey to God. We may not be prophets like Elijah but we are all called through our baptism to be disciples of Jesus. Fr. James Mallon in his book Divine Renovation states: “we need to teach about the experience of God in us through the Holy Spirit. We must teach people that there is no single experience that captures how God works in the hearts of the believers. We must teach that an emotional response to God is a healthy part of being in relationship with God.”

Rest under the “broom tree” if you need a break, but know that as a disciple of Jesus you will need to resume the ministry that you have been called to do.

 

Lorie Crepeau