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Catholic Faith Communities of Skibbereen, Rath and the Islands
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.
Triona Doherty, Athlone, Co Roscommon, Email firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Here too, we can ask: How do we keep our faith as a family? Do we keep it for ourselves, in our families, as a personal treasure like a bank account, or are we able to share it by our witness, by our acceptance of others, by our openness? We all know that families, especially young families, are often ‘racing’ from one place to another, with lots to do. But did you ever think that this ‘racing’ could also be the race of faith? Christian families are missionary families … They are missionary in everyday life, in their doing everyday things, as they bring to everything the salt and the leaven of faith! Keeping the faith in families and bringing to everyday things the salt and the leaven of faith.’
Pope Francis, homily at Mass in St Peter’s Square, 27 October 2013