The first reading at Mass this coming Sunday, the 19th Sunday of Ordinary time, describes a process of deepening encounter with the living God.
When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of the Lord, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
1 Kings 19:9,11-13
One of the most successful spiritual books of recent decades has been The God of Surprises by Gerry Hughes SJ.
Much of the book, unsurprisingly given its title, is given over to exploring how God, the real and living God is beyond the images we have of him. Time and time again our preconceptions are challenged by surprising encounter with the living God who longs to reveal more of his truth and beauty and power and mercy to us.
There is surely something of that taking place in this episode on Mount Horeb.
Elijah is used to the Lord’s manifestation of himself in power and strife, but here he finds him only in the sound of a gentle breeze.
- Where/ how has God surprised you recently?
- what change has that brought about in your live? How have you responded to him?
Image from here.