Pastors' Desk: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 11th August 2018 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End: Under the Bush

When a prophet sits under a bush, it’s usually a sign that things are not going well! At a particularly low moment in his relationship with God, the prophet Jonah sits, in an angry sulk, under a bush. While there he encounters God and learns a valuable lesson about mercy.

In today’s first reading, it is the prophet Elijah who sits under a bush. He is on his last legs, having escaped into the desert to avoid capture and death. At this low point, a day’s journey into the wilderness, he has had enough. He finds himself begging God to take his life.

It is a moment that will speak to many of us, particularly those of us facing struggles. Things can get on top of us. We sometimes feel alone, that our road is all uphill, that we are in the wilderness and there is nothing to do but give up. Yet when Elijah is at his lowest point, even getting ready to die, he finds he is not alone. The comforting presence of God is with him, offering sustenance to help him on his journey.

Elijah’s response to God is at first reluctant; he lies straight back down again. But with a second round of encouragement (and some more food) he is on his feet and able to continue his journey, replenished and renewed. At the moment he felt the most abandoned and alone, God was closer than ever.

Tríona Doherty