Homilette for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

(II Kings 2:1;6-14)

Most talented college football players probably think of little by way of a career other than playing in the NFL. No doubt they seek the fame of a Brett Favre as well as a million dollar contract. But are they aware of the risks involved? Several former players have died at a relatively young age because of concussions received on the football field. More typical are chronic pain after competing for several seasons. We might ask a similar question of Elisha as he requests of double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

Elijah accomplished amazing feats as God’s spokesperson in Israel, but he also suffered for his prophecy. Once he walked forty days and forty nights to escape execution by King Ahab and his spiteful wife Jezebel. Speaking the word of God – the prophet’s task -- is always a risky business. Ruthless people often have vested interest in silencing God’s word. Jesus suffered as a prophet although he did not speak so much on behalf of God as with the unique authority of God Himself. At one point he told his disciples that he was bound to die in Jerusalem like the prophets.

Some today might consider themselves as prophets. They have a clear vision of and want to speak out for what is right. They might even quote Scripture, the word of God, in doing so. Of course, such action – done judiciously -- is commendable. But it will not be universally appreciated. As with Elijah and Jesus, those who speak out strongly for righteousness are likely to find themselves derided, if not more vehemently persecuted.