June 7, 2016
by Tom Quinn
Creighton University's School of Medicine
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 360

1 Kings 17:7-16
Psalm 4:2-3, 4-5, 7b-8
Matthew 5:13-16

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

The prophecy that Elijah made in the first part of this week’s narration of the scripture was one of prolonged drought and ruin. Not even the dew would fall without the word of the Lord.  Ahab was, of course, incensed.  The prophet had confronted him with a prediction that would make Ahab seem foolish, since he was a follower of Baal. Ahab’s god was believed by many to be a god of fertility, agriculture, and rain.  A drought would be bad for many reasons.  Elijah was sent by God to seek refuge by a wadi in a remote area.  When the predicted drought came to pass, and the wadi became dry God told him to move on.  God had protected him and fed him by the wadi; Elijah trusted God without hesitation. When Elijah came to the village that God indicated, he met a widow who was also in desperate need; she and her son had enough food and fuel for one meal. The prospect of continued protection from Ahab and complete trust in the Lord caused him to assure the widow that she would not run out of flour or oil until the rains came again.  Elijah had supreme confidence in the Lord.

He had already followed God’s instructions to go into the wilderness and believed that he would be fed by ravens.  Living in the house of a widow and her son who were one meal away from starvation did not make his faith waiver.  Our relation with God must also be based on trust. He will protect us and provide everything that we truly need.

I can imagine that Elijah, first in his solitude, and then in his life with the widow, voiced a prayer similar to the psalm for today.  He must have pleaded with God to answer him and to relieve his distress. The Lord, in turn, did “do wonders” for Elijah.  These wonders then, as well as today, may actually consist of allowing us to live another day through the provision of our daily bread.

The gospel for today is so familiar to most of us that the phrase, ” you are the salt of the earth” means persons who are dependable and essential to us, like salt itself.  When salt no longer has a taste, it is useless.  Jesus chose salt as a symbol of a person’s usefulness and worth because it was necessary and used even for wages (salary).  We cannot live without some salt.  Jesus also encourages us by his admonition to put our light upon a lampstand, and not to hide it under a bushel basket.  This is really a call not to be vain or narcissistic, but rather, to believe, and to follow God’s will as we feel it. We are called to reflect onto others the light shed upon us by the face of God.  We need to be examples to others of the power that God’s love provides.

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