Daily Archives: June 18, 2008

Wednesday, 18 June – A painful departure

18 June – Wednesday in the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

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2 Kings 2:1. 6-14

This is what happened when the Lord took Elijah up to heaven in the whirlwind: Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal, Elijah said, ‘Elisha, please stay here, the Lord is only sending me to the Jordan.’ But he replied, ‘As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ And they went on together. 

Fifty of the brotherhood of prophets followed them, halting some distance away as the two of them stood beside the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water; and the water divided to left and right, and the two of them crossed over dry-shod. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Make your request. What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ Elisha answered, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ ‘Your request is a difficult one’ Elijah said. ‘If you see me while I am being taken from you, it shall be as you ask; if not, it will not be so.’ Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind. Elisha saw it, and shouted, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!’ Then he lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he tore them in half. He picked up the cloak of Elijah which had fallen, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.

He took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water. ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ he cried. He struck the water, and it divided to right and left, and Elisha crossed over.

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Matthew 6:1-6. 16-18

Jesus said, ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

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Your father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

The loss of someone special is indeed a painful time. The tears that we see during funeral services bear testimony to the fact that parting is often a difficult experience. However, the prophet Elijah shows us how different a farewell can be if we have faith.

Elisha was clearly upset that Elijah was about to leave. He was fearful that he might not be up to the task that was laid out before him. It is in the light of this that he asked Elijah to “inherit a double share of his [Elijah’s] spirit”. His wish was granted because it was asked in ardent and simple faith. Christ also reminds us that our prayers, acts of charity and fasting must be done in genuine faith even if this means doing it in secret. This signifies the trueness of one’s intentions of seeking to glorify God rather than ourselves.

The intentions of our prayers and actions speak volumes of what our lives stand for. We strive towards this ideal and should not be discouraged if we were to fail; what matters is that we are clear of what we have to do to grow closer to God.

(Today’s reflection by Nick Chia)
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Prayer: Lord, we pray that our actions may enable us to grow in holiness together with you.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who encourage us on our life journey.

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Upcoming readings:
19 June, Thu – Sir 48:1-14; Matthew 6:7-15
20 June, Fri – 2 Kings 11:1-4. 9-18. 20; Matthew 6:19-23
21 June, Sat -2 Chornicles 24:17-25; Matthew 6:24-34 – Memorial of St Aloyious Gonzaga
22 June, Sun – Jeremiah 20:10-13; Romans 5:12-15; Matthew 10:26-33 – Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
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