Today’s first reading from 1 Kings and today’s gospel from Luke offer stories of invitation and call to follow. Elijah in his encounter with God on the mountain is told to anoint Elisha to be his successor. Elijah is very no-nonsense. He throws his cloak over Elisha. When Elisha asks if he can kiss his father and mother goodbye, Elijah growls. Elisha’s response is to slaughter the oxen he has been plowing with, feed his people, and follow Elijah.
There are many calls in our lives. Some like Elisha’s are to a new way of life like marriage or the single life, religious life or priesthood. But each of us receives daily calls within those calls. We begin our days, hopefully asking God’s help to be open and generous to those calls that come our way this new day—calls from a friend in need, calls from an illness (our own or that of someone else), meeting strangers with their needs, dealing with joy and sorrows. We are invited at the end of the day to see how we responded to those calls to to understand God’s presence within them.
The stories from the Hebrew Scriptures and Luke’s gospel invite us to have open and generous hearts—like Luke’s Jesus, like our Jesus. Can we make that simple but life-changing prayer: Give us hearts like Jesus’ heart?
—Fr. Jim Dixon, S.J. serves as chaplain to the Ignatian Volunteer Corps and is Superior of the Woodlawn Jesuit Residence, Chicago IL.