11th Week, Wednesday, Jun 17th

2 Kings 2:1, 6-14 / Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 
Elijah strikes the water: He and Elisha crossed the river dry-shod.

Elijah took his cloak and struck the water. Immediately the water divided, and he and Elisha crossed the river on dry ground. This unusual action serves two purposes. First, it sets the stage for Elisha to repeat the same miracle, confirming that Elijah had passed on to him the power of prophecy.
Second, it shows that God worked through Elijah and Elisha just as powerfully as he worked through Moses, who parted the Red (Reed) Sea. We have a parallel phenomenon in the Church. As Elijah passed on his power to Elisha, so bishops pass on the power of priesthood to their successors.
Do we see bishops and priests as successors of Jesus, from whom they receive their power and authority? “Then [Jesus] breathed on [his disciples] and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven.’” John 20:22
There will come a time for people of authority and power to step down and hand the reins to their successors. For the prophet Elijah, the time had come for him to hand over power to his successor Elisha. Elijah knew he was to be taken back to God. Elisha his successor now ask for a double share of his prophetic spirit. The reason being that the law of Israel had it that a double share of property was to be given by the father to his first-born son. Elisha was the chosen heir, but the prophetic spirit was for God alone to give. But what was given to Elijah was eventually doubled in Elisha and culminated in John the Baptist.

John the Baptist was the prophet that Jesus described as the prophet Elijah who had returned to bring the people back to God. Before Jesus returned to His Father, He promised to give us not just a prophetic spirit but the Holy Spirit as our Advocate and Helper. The Holy Spirit will give us the power to break free from sin and to have hearts of love so that we can live our lives of holiness and bring people back to God.

Jesus said, "When you give do not make a big show of it.
Matthew 6:3-4.
The donations clerk at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, gets about 700 donation envelops daily. One day she opened a plain envelop with no return address. Inside was a  McDonald's Sweepstake's card.  It showed a $1 million "Instant inner." The Hospital called McDonald's, who came with a representative of their accounting firm. After checking the card carefully, it was declared a winner. McDonald's and St. Jude officials agreed to respect the donor's apparent desire to remain anonymous and made no effort to find out who it was. When was the last time I gave generously--and anonymously to a good cause? It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are the classic pillars of the season of Lent, but they must not be confined to that sacred season. Jesus teaches us that we are to discipline our lives that we will find prayer to be as natural as breathing, sacrifices (fasting) to be consistent and regular, and care of the poor (almsgiving) to be an authentic expression of our gratitude for the Lord caring for us.
Jesus describes in this Gospel passage not legalistic obligations, but a way of life in which deeds speak louder than words. God does not forget those who keep Him in mind.

You could arrange that short passage in two columns; at the head of one, you could write IN SECRET, and at the head of the other TO BE SEEN.  Read the passage again and see this for yourself.  One is left in no doubt that a deep truthful interiority is essential to a Christian life.  A tree has to sink its roots deep into the ground, otherwise it comes down in the first storm (or perhaps it doesn't, because it has never been able to raise itself up).  If you project your imagination down into the ground where the roots are, you find a strange world of darkness, silence and stillness.  This is the opposite of the world above ground; there you have light, noise, movement.  We are like trees in that respect.  If we identify our life with the public part, the part ‘above ground’, we will not be able to withstand the storms of life, and we will have no profound resources for growth.  Our actions, our lives, like trees, emerge from a rich darkness, silence and stillness. 
The inner is not an escape from the outer.  Thomas Merton was convinced that many ‘contemplatives’ are not really contemplatives at all but only introspective people, or people in flight from the pain and complexity of ordinary life.  Real contemplatives know the urgency not only of going in but also of going out.  Meister Eckhart said, “Not that one should give up or neglect or reject one's inner life, but in it and with it and from it one should learn to act in such a way as to let the inward break into activity and draw the activity into inwardness, and thereby train oneself to act in freedom.  For one should turn one's eyes to this inner work and act therefrom, whether it be in reading, praying or outward work. But if the outward work tends to destroy the inward, one should follow the inward.  But if both can be as one, that is best, then one is co-operating with God.”
Wednesday June 17

Wednesday of 11th Week of Ordinary Time


What a bold question of the prophet Elisha to ask that he be given a double share of the prophetic spirit that was in the prophet Elijah! May the Lord give us the Holy Spirit to a great measure.
Jesus speaks to us today on sincere and generous sharing. It would be good for us, for our Catholic organizations and institutions of the Church to remember that we have no monopoly on charity, that God is present in every act of love and sharing, also when not bearing the Catholic label. True love is discreet, like God’s.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
you let your Holy Spirit fill us spontaneously
with every good gift.
You want us to be to everyone
ministers of your generosity.
Help us to express our gratitude to you
and to reveal your goodness
by sharing what we are and have
with joy and in all sincerity,
as Jesus did, your Son,
who lives with you for ever.

We still live in anticipation of the final times. Even the arrival of Christ pointed to his return at the end of time. The departure of Elijah in the whirlwind was not definitive. He had not died; therefore, it was believed that he would return in the final days. In the Lucan Lord’s Prayer, Christ prays for the full inauguration of the kingdom. But Elijah had not departed without showing special favor to Elisha. When the latter strikes the water with Elijah’s cloak, the waters are parted. Elisha has captured the spirit of Elijah.
No greater affirmation of Elijah surpasses the gift of the twofold spirit to his disciple. Today so many people are captured by sinful example. But between the two prophets there was only the exchange of the good. Many young people are immersed in the example of evil. How inspiring it is to see them captured by the good. Some young people today give of their vacation time to assist people in the underdeveloped and developing world in agricultural projects or housing developments to assist the needy.
Jesus today warns against forms of ostentation. When charity is done, let it be done quietly, without fanfare. Likewise, praying and fasting be done without attracting attention. It is our heavenly Father who sees all and rewards all. That is quite sufficient. Humans can too easily become self-centered. And it may not be in serious ways. But it is to the Lord that all good is to be attributed. God brooks no competitors.

Points to Ponder
Wise imitation
Improper self-seeking.

– That we may be discreet and unobtrusive in helping people in need, we pray:
– That we may learn to see the unspoken needs of modest, simple, timid people, we pray:
– That the Lord may make us generous of heart and hands, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
you give us not only all things we need
but you give us the best of yourself
in your Son Jesus Christ.
Accept from our hands
these humble gifts of bread and wine,
which we have received from you
and through them let your Son come among us.
May they express that we too
are willing to share with others
without putting labels and price tags on our gifts,
and to give ourselves with Jesus,
who lives with you and the Holy Spirit for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, our Father in heaven,
your own gifts are often humble and veiled,
like the giving to us of your Son
in the signs of bread and wine.
God, who look in the depths of our hearts,
teach us to share without display,
that our left hand not know
what our right hand is giving.
Let it be enough for us to know that you know,
who are our Father
in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we only love those who love us, we merely do what some people do who do not believe. We should not exclude anyone from our love, for that is the mark of the followers of Christ, to love people, as we love ourselves! May God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.