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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Finding God's Voice

by Fr. David M. Knight

June 14, 2012  

Lectionary No. 363


1Kings 19:9-16 makes the point strongly that, although God is in all things, if we “long to see his face, we should look for him, not in power but in peacefulness; not in shattering winds or shaking earthquakes or in the destroying fire of volcanoes, but in “the sound of a gentle breeze.” Or, in another translation, the sound of “sheer silence.” But Elijah didn’t get the message. 

Before and after his experience at the mouth of the cave, God said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” He replied the same way both times: “I have been most zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. But the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.” 

Elijah was a violent man. He slaughtered the priests of Baal and called down “fire from heaven” on soldiers lacking in respect. John the apostle wanted to do the same to a village that showed disrespect for Jesus. Now, in his “zeal for the LORD,” Elijah wants God to act against his enemies with force. And like John the Baptizer, the “second Elijah,” he expects God to save his life by an act of divine power. When the people under the cross thought Jesus was calling on Elijah, they assumed Jesus was asking for the same thing. But Jesus said John’s death, like his own, was a sign things had changed: God was going to save the world through the power of love alone. And through death accepted with love in witness to the truth. “Thy will be done!” God speaks, not in storm and fury but in the “sound of a gentle breeze.” He comes with “wind and fire” only in the Holy Spirit of unity, peace and love.xxxi 

To understand Jesus when he is challenging, as in Matthew 5:27-32, we have to see how he faced his own challenge in the garden of Gethsemane. When he prayed, “Thy will be done!” it was not for fear of having his “whole body thrown into Gehenna.” Or even fear of committing some great sin, like “adultery.” Jesus went deeper than that. 

Everything he says in this passage is based on the fundamental goal of the Sermon on the Mount: to explain the New Law as what we have to do to live out the mystery of redemption: the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,” the favor of sharing in the divine life of Father, Son and Spirit. Any merely human behavior that does not come out of union with God’s own mind and will and heart falls so far short that it is unthinkable. That is why Jesus says, “All who even look at others with lust have already committed adultery in their heart.” He is thinking mystery, not just morality. So must we.  


 Decision: Never ask what is right or wrong. Ask what is like God. 

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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