Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: June 8, Lectionary # 360. I Kings 17:7-16. Psalm 4:2-3.4-5.7-8.
Matthew 5:13-16:

Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead is the historical
information we have about this prophet and wonder-worker. His name is
directly an indication of his relationship with God; it means The Lord
(Yahweh) is my God. Our first readings this week will be taken from what is
known as the Elijah Cycle of readings. The stories about him form a
literary unit and make for some romantic reading of this "rounded
character." He is also mentioned in I Kings 21:21 and II Kings 1-2. We can
see that the author gathered these together in a journey narrative. After
declaring a draught (I Kings 17: 1-24). Included in this is our story of
the widow and her child in norhern Israel; the town is near Sidon and is
called Zarephath. The people there believed in a god who was named Baal.
All of the stories are exciting and adventuresome. He will leave us going
to the heavens in a fiery chariot. ("Swing low, sweet chariot..."). He is
important as an image or prefiguring of the role that John the Baptist will
have in the Gospels. In many ways the two are similar and are symbols for
the coming of the Messianich era. In the Passover Seder the fifth cup of
wine is a sign of his invisible presence at the celebration. Both at
circumcisions and at the Seder a special chair is reserved for the prophet
Elijah. In Malachai 3:23, Elijah is the precursor of the Messiah, "Behold,
I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and
terrible day of the Lord." Elijah is the herald of the coming of the

In the short episode of today's reading we see him taking the last bit of
food from a poor widow who is with her child. Though she had this last
sustenance for herself and her son, she trusted in the words of the prophet
and was rewarded with enough oil and food for a year. We can imagine that
she would have sung something like our Psalm Response and its verses from
Psalm 4.

Like the above cycle, the Sermon on the Mount will continue for two weeks
in our liturgy of the word. We hear the clear and encouraging voice of the
Lord as he gives us a blueprint for our discipleship and our journeying
with him. We are told to be the salt and light for the world. Not a bad
idea these days which are stormy, filled with animosity among many nations,
divisions in our own country, and countless acts of violence. We are to be
the good flavor for a world that is chaotic in its tastes and its noises.
We are to be the people who offer hope to those who searching in the
darkness of atheism and secularism. As the light we are to shine
unselfishly for others in a country that is proud and individualistic. The
challenge is there every day. As a community of believers we can bring
hope and joy to the people who are sitting in darkness. Amen.