The WORD in Other Words by Fr Rudolf Horst SVD (Philippines)
Tuesday Week 15 Ordinary Time, Ex 2:1-15a, Mt 11:20-24
Sitting one afternoon on Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, I experienced such an inner peace that I didn‘t like it when the tour guide of our pilgrimage group clapped aloud with her hands — the sign that we had to return to our bus. No wonder that over the centuries, countless hermits spent their lives feeling close to God on this mountain.
Today‘s fiery gospel reading seems fitting against the peaceful atmosphere of this holy mountain. And yet, the first holy man living here was the prophet Elijah who killed 450 priests of Baal in this place. That surely was not a peaceful moment. And the prophet‘s message was never peaceful but caused Queen Jezebel to persecute Elijah, threatening to kill him.
A prophet makes no sweet talk. A prophet calls fire and brimstone from heaven–like Jesus in today‘s gospel to wake up stubborn sinners. Jesus and the prophets use harsh words, not out of anger but out of love. They would like nothing more than that we wake up, turn away from what is displeasing God and finally enter eternal life.
Mount Carmel. Another approach to turn our wayward hearts to salvation is the loving look of Mary who softens the harsh prophetic words with the kind countenance of a loving Mother. And there stands Our Lady of Mount Carmel besides the fiery prophet hoping that we are moved by her motherly love and turn from our sinful ways.