The first reading at Mass today, the 19th Sunday of the Year, confronts us with the desperation that is many people’s experience in life. All seems to have gone wrong for Elijah: ‘‘O Lord, I have had enough. Take my life.’ But how gently and how extraordinarily his needs are met.
Elijah went into the wilderness, a day’s journey, and sitting under a furze bush wished he were dead. ‘O Lord,’ he said ‘I have had enough. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down and went to sleep. But an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked round, and there at his head was a scone baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. But the angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, or the journey will be too long for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank, and strengthened by that food he walked for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
One day’s walk into the wilderness and Elijah was done for. Fed and watered by angels though, he was able for a walk of 40 days and 40 nights to the mountain of God, and there Elijah comes to know the Lord not in storm and earthquake but in a still low whisper.
1 Kings 19:4-8
- When has the Lord strengthened you beyond what you could have conceived?
- What nourishment do you draw on for your life in Christ?
Image is painting by Chagall, found here.