1 Kings 19:19-21 Reflection
A couple of times Elijah has said that he is the only prophet left in Israel and now we see him choose the prophet who will succeed him. In today’s reading we are told that Elijah throws his cloak over Elisha; I wonder what the significance of him throwing the cloak over Elisha is, perhaps it was a sign of choice or a sort of ordination.
Elisha is working with a yoke of oxen; he is the last in a line of twelve yoke and he goes and kills the oxen and uses the wood from the yoke to roast the beef. He and his fellow workers enjoy a feast.
Elisha is both celebrating his choice of new career and symbolically, by killing the oxen and burning the yoke, leaving his old life behind with no way to go back. And God, by choosing Elisha, is letting us know that he is not going to leave us without someone to represent him on earth.
The last sentence of the reading says that Elisha got up followed Elijah and became his servant. This is what God expects of us, to leave the old life behind and to follow him and become his servant.
We are not to be as dramatic as Elisha, few people are called to that, but we are to take serious the obligation to follow the Lord. The burning of the yoke is something akin to leaving behind all that ties us to the world and that separates us from God.
The choice as to how serious we take this challenge is down to each of us!