1 Kings 19:16B, 19-21
This Sunday’s gospel reading brings to mind two special events that Elijah was involved in in the Old Testament but Jesus out performed him on both counts:
Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume messengers from the king of Samaria (2 Kgs 1:9-14); Jesus rebuked James and John when they asked that the same punishment be exacted on the Samaritan village that refused to receive them.
Elijah allowed his successor, Elisha, to attend to family matters before following him; Jesus’ followers’ similar requests (bury my father, say farewell to family) were flatly turned down.
Message? Attending family matters is a sacred responsibility, but with the economy of salvation crossing the threshold of final fulfillment and the Kingdom of God on the verge of inauguration, the duty of Christian discipleship is more sacred still! (Ref: Ignatius Catholic Study Bible commentary on Luke.)
It also indicates how, as human history enters the final and defining moment of the New Covenant, the values and standards that God expects from men, so privileged and blessed as “to share in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) of God the Father because of Christ, are many times above and beyond those of the Old Testament times. For with the coming of Christ “all of you are children of the light and children of the day” (1 Thes 5:5). As St. Paul reminded us in this Sunday’s second reading, we “live by the Spirit”, and “are not under the (Old Testament) law” anymore (Gal 5:18).
Of the 800,000 strong participants attending the 2002 WYD in Toronto, of whom the author was one, who could possibly forget Pope St. John Paul II’s powerful and passionate plea: “Dear young people, do not be content with anything less than the highest ideals!”? After all, we are the people of the New Covenant – children of the light!