Thursday, June 18, 2020

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

“Chariots of Fire” is a beautiful phrase that takes us back 8 centuries before Christ, to the time of Elijah the Prophet. He spoke words of “fire” to condemn the evil actions of a king and his wife, Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah’s “fiery” words caused him considerable problems with Jezebel who did everything she could to destroy him. Elijah had a passion to speak the truth to powerful people, a passion that burned like fire.

What is your passion? How do you speak truth that challenges not only powerful entities but yourself?

But God would have the last word, He always does and always will. God protected Elijah on the mount, providing him food given to him by ravens. The widow of Zarephath provided him bread for sustenance. Elijah was described as a fast runner in the book of Kings and I’m sure his example was the fuel for the runners in the film, “Chariots of Fire,” especially the one who faced antisemitism. At the end of his life, Elijah was taken up into heaven, “assumed,” by chariots of Fire. There’s that phrase.

“Chariots of Fire” is a wonderful movie, very timely to our own times, about three fast runners ( like Elijah) in the Paris Olympics of 1924. These runners faced religious bigotry and mockery, and the film with its iconic theme song by Vangelis, tells their inspiring story of courage in the face of injustice.

A “chariot of Fire “ is a symbol of facing life’s adversities with Courage, giving one a “power” that burns away the tides of evil. The times in which we are now living are begging that we get on board our own chariot of Fire and be carried through these troubled times by courage. Let us “run like the wind,” fueled by the fire of divine love, as did our three runners and Elijah. May our passion for justice not destroy storefronts or property, but evil attitudes, bigotry and prejudice.

As Elijah was “assumed” into heaven by chariots of Fire, may we remember the one human being, the woman, who gave us our Savior...Mary. She was “assumed” into heaven at the moment of her death, body and soul, on a unique chariot of Fire: the Fire of her Son’s love, the Fire of His passion. Mary, our Mother, wants us to board our own “chariot of Fire.”

Fr. Frank