“Learn…to submit yourself promptly to your Superior” (IC 3,13,1) | “Elijah went over to [Elisha] and threw his cloak over him….Then he left and followed Elijah as his attendant.” (1 Kgs 19:19b,21b)

|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XIII: ”The Obedience of a Humble Subject Following the Example of Jesus Christ” (second entry)

Again, Kempis is concerned here with perfect obedience of clerics to their religious superior, but this directive is widely applicable. In the religious realm, for the layperson, it should be our disposition toward God: immediate and total submission to the Lord and His will is required.

|Today’s first reading: 1 Kgs 19:19-21

The call of Elisha, directed by God just three verses earlier, is documented here in a few short verses. Elisha makes quick work of his possessions before following Elijah as his attendant and eventually a great prophet in his own right.

|Reflection

Elisha delayed a bit before following Elijah, but in dramatic fashion, killing his animals and cooking them on his personally smashed farm equipment to make a fine feast before bidding his farewell. Elijah was not pleased with the delay, but took him under his wing, anyway, and Elisha turned out be a fine protege and a worthy bearer of the prophetic mantle. It seems quite likely that Jesus had this episode in mind when He said to certain would-be disciples:

And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” [To him] Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:61-62)

Jesus demands an even more prompt response and a total donation of oneself to Him. “Time’s a-wastin,'” as they say. We must be completely dedicated to the cause of advancing the Kingdom of God by being zealous disciples of Christ. The authentic call of Jesus requires letting go of times past and things passing in favor of the Eternal Word.

Elijah and Elisha by Abraham Bloemaert on artnet
Elijah and Elisha by Circle of Abraham Bloemaert (b. ca. 1564–1651)

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