Fifth Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)
Scripture Readings*: 1 Kings 19:1-4 (5-7), 8-15a, Psalm 42, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39
1 Kings 19:1-4 (5-7) 8-15a
Jezebel is unmoved by the slaying of the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. She threatens Elijah’s life, and inexplicably, Elijah is terrified and flees. This reading reveals God’s response to His troubled prophet and is a tremendous encouragement for those who suffer depression or despair.
God gives Elijah strength to flee (vv. 5-8), speaks gently (vv. 9-13), listens to Elijah’s doubts and fears (v. 14), and gives him a task to accomplish.
The position of “son” in the Roman world was special. A son was accountable to the father, with privileges of direct access to him and his resources. In saying that believers are “sons” in the family of God, Paul makes all other relationships insignificant. There is now no advantage in being a Jew rather than a Gentile, a man versus woman, or free man or slave.
At times, even gracious acts of God are difficult to accept.
After encountering a storm on the lake, Jesus encounters a man possessed by demons. He has sympathy for him and frees him from the demons, who enter a herd of pigs that proceed to run off of a cliff. The people around were alarmed and frightened by what had happened, and urge Jesus to leave their community.
Jesus urges the delivered man to stay at home; because people are often inclined to listen to a man they know who has experienced the compassion of Christ.
Even great people of faith are sometimes frightened, overwhelmed, or discouraged. Elijah was weary from the battle. Afraid for his life, he flees into the wilderness, begging God to die. Yet God feeds Elijah from His own table, renewing His strength and enabling Him to hear the voice of God.
And so it goes with our own lives. We fear… flee… fail. But God calls us to His Table. He feeds us with the Body and Blood of His own Son. And He strengthens us to hear His voice, leading… guiding… encouraging. At the Table, we meet Jesus. The voices of doubt and confusion are silenced and we are made whole in the presence of Christ.
Prayer for Fourth Sunday After Pentecost – Holy God, you sustain and renew my life through the life of your Son. Help me to love and reverence your Holy Name; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C