Today is Saturday December 10, 2011. The readings for today include a quote from Sirach (aka Sophia Seirach).
“Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch.
He brought a famine upon them, and by his zeal he made them few in number.” (Sirach 48:1-2)
Elijah is one of my favorite prophets. In spite of his arrogance he was also a fearful and realistic man. He spoke out when speaking out was called for. For all practical purposes he is the only guy from the Hebrew Scriptures not to have died. He was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire (some say spaceship…I report, you decide). His job was to use logic with the people so that they would worship the one true God. He was effective and quite a showman. One event I remember teaching my sophomores was the “battle of the gods” on Mt. Carmel. Elijah (according to the first book of Kings) really didn’t want wishy washy people. As he said “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal then follow him” (I don’t think he was speaking of Mitt Romney here). Baal was the “pagan god.” So to make a point, he arranges a test on the mountain between 450 prophets of Baal and, yes, you guessed it, himself. Its a great tale and worth your time reading it. (1st Kings 18) It’s great theatre. Elijah knew he was standing against the wind of popular opinion, yet made his point clearly and decisively and he knew, logically, that he was right.
I guess the object lesson for us is, even though we hear lie after lie after lie from some news media because they have an agenda that is not healthy for the 99% ers, it does not mean they are right. There needs to be a “test.” Taking a stand for the poor and the marginalized in our society may be unpopular with the perceived status quo mentality but know that it is a righteous stand. During our season of Christmas, we are moved to help others who need help. Hopefully this will lead to a pattern of social justice that carries way beyond the 25th of this month. A way of living for “others.” So when we hear “protect the wealthy” or hire only poor kids to do menial labor, we also hear the voices of the 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. You and I need to be the voice of truth, the voices of a modern Elijah who brings the people to their senses.
and so it goes…