What can I do for you?

Here in the first reading for today, we hear from the book of Sirach about Elijah and Elisha.   Written between 600 and 700 years after Elijah walked the earth, it shows the lasting impression he had on the people of Israel.  He was a prophet of action, calling down the fire of God on their enemies.   A man who was burning with zeal and passion for the will of God and the defense of the people entrusted to his care.   Elijah defeated the pagan false god Baal and made an example of those posing as their prophets.  Elisha followed in Elijah’s footsteps.  Performing miracles and displaying the tremendous power of God’s Word.

The scriptures show today with a straightforward phrase that Elijah and Elisha went on to be Saints in heaven.    “In life, he performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds.”   Their legacy alone wasn’t that they lived a life of faith and power, but they went on to serve God in the same capacity after leaving this world.   This is why we believe in the Saints, doing marvelous deeds not just now, but forever to the glory of God.   That’s the key, isn’t it?   To live our lives so that we have the same impact now as we do after we have departed this mortal world.   We should be striving to be Saints right now, not aiming for that only in heaven.

That’s the message I think for today’s readings.   There is a song called Legacy that has a beautiful way of saying this: “I want to leave a legacy, How will they remember me?  Did I choose to love?  Did I point to you enough?  To make a mark on things.  I want to leave an offering.  A child of mercy and grace.   Who blessed your name unapologetically. “  As we prepare to receive communion, we should meditate on that thought.  What kind of legacy am I leaving?  Is the person we are right now the person God created us to be?  Because in that precious host resides the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ and all the grace we will ever need to be transformed by God in His image.

“Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.”
Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.”

I think an easy way to think about it is this.   Elijah was about to leave the world and Elisha would not see him again in this life.  At that moment, he said to Elisha “Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.”   That’s almost like a genie in the bottle, right?  Elijah could call down the very fire of God, and he asks Elisha what do you want?  I’ll give you one boon before I go.   Name it.   Elisha didn’t ask for money.  He didn’t ask for things or lands.  He said, “I want to be like you.”   I want to feel that same Spirit living in me that is in you.   The Holy Spirit has animated you in such a way that there is nothing else I want more in this life than to have the same intimacy with God that you have.

If today was our last day, our last moment on this earth… and we had the power to grant one wish… to give one thing to those we love… What would they be asking us for?

A homily for Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time: June 16th, 2022