Fear, Doubt and Elijah

July 20, 2013 |

elihaj2SPELLAt Mass today, in all Carmelite houses, the Gospel reading is the Transfiguration of Jesus (Luke 9:28-36) because Elijah the Prophet appears in that passage. In the story, the disciples have fallen asleep, leaving Jesus, Moses and Elijah alone. It says, “Two men appeared in splendor, Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” Now my question is — what were they talking about on the Mountain of Transfiguration?

If I place myself there in my imagination and get closer to hear their conversation, I hear Moses talking about his mission. He’s saying, “Jesus, I was given my mission to lead the people out of slavery and into the Promised Land, but I almost failed. I doubted and I struck the rock twice (Numbers 20:11). I didn’t trust enough. I doubted. So, Jesus, you have been given your mission. My advice to you is — do not doubt. If you do not doubt, you will succeed.”

Then I hear Elijah begin speaking of his mission. He’s saying, “Jesus, I was given my mission to lead the people away from their bloodthirsty false gods and back to the One True God, but I almost failed. I was afraid. I ran from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel when they threatened to kill me (1 Kings 19:2) and prayed for death (1 Kings 19:4). Then I hid in the cave when the Lord said to stand upon the mountain (1 Kings 19:13). Because of fear I almost failed. So, Jesus, you have been given your mission. My advice to you is — do not be afraid. If you don’t let fear get the best of you, you will succeed.”

Do questions like these ever cross your mind? Does he/she really love me? Am I good enough? Am I loveable? Am I worth it? DOUBT! Or do questions like these ever cross your mind? What if they say no? What if they ignore me? What if they laugh at me? What will they think about me? FEAR! Doubt and fear have a lot of power in our lives. Doubt and fear are the biggest impediments to living. Doubt and fear can keep us from our mission.

See if you can catch the next time a doubt-question or a fear-question runs through your head. Sometimes they are so automatic that we don’t catch them and–almost on autopilot–we pull away and move back from living. And then what can you do about it? On this feast day of the Prophet Elijah, pray for a ‘double spirit of Elijah (2 Kings 2:9) to move past them and move into living.

Gregory Houck
Gregory Houck, O.Carm. is the Pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Gurnee, Illinois.
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