10th Week, Saturday, Jun 15th

 1 Kings 19:19-21 / Matthew 5:33-37 

Elijah calls Elisha: Elisha follows Elijah.

Catherine Marshall’s book A Man Called Peter tells the story of her husband, who was the famous chaplain of Congress. It was made into a highly successful movie. One day, after the movie’s release, Catherine received an unusual letter from a young assistant sports editor of a newspaper. He told her that it was while watching the movie of Peter’s life that he felt God’s call to the ministry. The young man responded and was now happily studying in a seminary. It was under a similar unusual circumstance that Elisha experienced God’s call, said yes to it, and succeeded Elijah as God’s prophet to Israel.


Did we ever experience God’s call to us in an unusual situation or circumstance? God is constantly calling us to follow him more closely than we are.


If we know something about computer language, then we will know that at its very basics, it is about "1" and "0". Putting it simply in understandable language, it is about "Yes" or "No". How this works can be seen in a flow-chart where the flow goes from one "Yes" to the next "Yes". If there is a "No" then it goes to another flow process. But we don't usually talk in that kind of way. We will say things like "Yes, but.. maybe" or "Yes, if ..." In other words, our "Yes" is not always a committed and convicted "Yes". The same can be said of our "No"

Elisha, in the 1st reading, also had the same problem. When Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him, Elijah was calling him to follow him. He ran after Elijah and said "Yes" and then came the "ifs, buts and maybes. A simple question from Elijah was all it took to clear up Elisha's mind and with that he also gave up his oxen and plough.

Seeing all that go up in smoke was certainly not easy but the "Yes" that was required demanded nothing less. Jesus also emphasized that when He said this: "Yes" if you mean yes, "No" if you mean no. Putting it simply, let we say "Yes" to Jesus and "No" to the devil, and mean it. Anything more than this comes from the evil one.


WHY SWEAR OATHS? Introduction Today’s first reading from the Book of Kings gives us a good example of the radical demands made on people God will send for a radical mission. Elisha is up to the call. Why do people require that at special occasions a statement be backed up by an oath? Is it that they doubt one another’s sincerity and truthfulness, particularly when it matters? And if God invoked in witness of the truth, is it always the truth that is sworn to? In the mind of Jesus, Christians should always be so reliable that there is no need for swearing oaths. We should mean what we say at all occasions.

Penitential Rite:

-You tell us, Lord, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow, LHM

-You tell us, Lord, do not swear under any circumstances, CHM

-You tell us, Lord, Let our 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and our 'No' mean 'No.', LHM

Opening Prayer Reliable God, your Son was born for this and for this he came into this world, to bear witness to the truth. Count us among those who listen to him and who want to be honest seekers of the truth. Help us to say a firm no to all that is evil and make our yes a firm yes to all that is good and worthy, by the power of Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Commentary Oaths call upon God to witness the trudi of what is asserted. They played a part in Old Testament life, just as they have been part of church practice for centuries. Whatever else an oath may do, it infringes on God’s sovereignty in drawing him to matters of lesser concern. The Sermon on the Mount is clear in its condemnation of oaths. Why then do we continue to take oaths? Some would argue that the Matthean prohibition of oaths is part of an ideal toward which we may strive but continually fall short. But such an argument also is weak, since it has long been held that the provisions of the Sermon on the Mount are not simply ideals but norms to be lived in everyday life. Perhaps the best answer is simply to recognize that it is an area in which we fall short. We fail to speak the unvarnished truth with honesty. In our reading from Kings, Elisha is so determined to share the lot of Elijah that he destroys his instruments of agriculture and destroys the animals that provided for his livelihood. This was as total a commitment to the future as could possibly be made. Here there is no putting his hand to the plow and looking back. Elisha prays for a double share in Elijah’s spirit. It is that type of determination that was so much a part of the prophetic tradition as well as true Christian discipleship. 

Points to Ponder The truth of the simple and direct answer The witness of total commitment Elisha’s prophetic call.  Intercessions

– For Christians, that they may be so reliable that there is no need for swearing oaths, we pray:

– For friends, that they may always be trustworthy and faithful, we pray:

– For all of us, that we may be faithful to the task God has given us in life, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts Lord God, almighty Father, you spoke your creative word and things and people existed; you saw that your work was good. Speak here in our midst your mighty word and your Son will be present among us as your faithful, reliable word. Let him fill our hollow words to the brim with goodness, honesty and peace, that we may trust one another and offer you all honor and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion Loyal and trustworthy God, your Son has spoken to us words that never pass away. He filled his words with himself and so he could be with us here. Help us too to fill again our worn-out words with ourselves. Let your own Son speak in the words we say and the words we hear. Let him become flesh again in our words, that we may become free again in Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Blessing A few days ago Paul told us that Jesus was always “Yes,” yes to the Father’s will, yes and affirming to people, reliable. May we too be trustworthy and reliable, in our faith, our friendship, our given word, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.