August 12, 2018 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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This Is Enough, O LORD!
There is something refreshing about the story of Elijah in this Old Testament reading. Many of us can relate to feeling too tired to go on. After an amazing miracle, this is exactly how Elijah feels. He lays down in the shade of a tree and wants to die. “This is enough, O LORD!” he cries out.

Can you reflect on times you might have thought those same thoughts? “This is enough, O LORD!”

I can imagine it, I have felt those exact same feelings at times in my life.

Acknowledge their emotions and affirm them as a person
The angel doesn’t deny Elijah’s feelings, he merely tells him to get up and eat so he can have energy for the journey ahead.

It rarely helps when you are feeling distressed and someone belittles you or denies your emotions. Often the best advice is the most practical advice. We don’t have to own someone’s feelings or feel we need to take control of their life. Offer sustenance in the moment. Acknowledge their emotions and affirm them as a person.

Paul tells us that we grieve the Holy Spirit with thoughts of bitterness, fury, anger and behaviors like shouting, and to replace malice with compassion.
What important words for our time!

The anger of self-righteousness from the anger of injustice
We need to remember that even Jesus felt anger and took off His belt to chase the money-changers out of the temple.

Our quest must be to differentiate the anger of self-righteousness from the anger of injustice.

Jesus never felt the anger of self-righteousness, but He was enraged over injustice.
In the Gospel today, the Jewish people surrounding Jesus miss His divinity when they compare Him to “one of us.” “Is this not the son of Joseph?”  Jesus tells them He is the “Bread of Life.”

The fruit of spirituality is meaning
This is the bread Elijah needed when he lay beneath the tree and asked for death. This is the bread we all need to eat in our most dismal moments.

In my prison outreaches, I give men a menu of seven options to choose from in a quest for well-being and mastery. The top-3 that the men pick are: Sobriety, Family Restoration and Spiritual.

The fruit of spirituality is meaning. It helps us lift our heads from our own predicament and see that the “world is bigger than us.”

The Bread of Life offers both a larger perspective and a deeper compassion. We are lifted from despair when we live our lives for justice and the needs of others.
At those times when you cry out, “This is enough, O LORD,” turn your eye to compassion and love, away from malice and self-righteous anger.

Any Given Sunday Project ©