Thursday, June 12, 2014
Mount Carmel: Daily Mass Homily--Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Our first reading checks in with the struggle between Elijah the prophet and the wicked king Ahab. Ahab and Jezebel were perennial enemies of Elijah and the Israelite faith as they turned their back on God to worship Baal. At this point in the story God has caused a drought because of the wickedness of the people.
I have had the fortune to be on Mount Carmel, the place on which Elijah prayed the drought would subside. It is a lush mount that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. When I was there I read this passage, imagining that small cloud that was first seen by Elijah’s servant—a sign of the rain to come.
Mount Carmel was a pivotal place for Elijah’s labor against pagan worship. It was here he took on 450 prophets of Baal. They had a contest in which both would set up an altar and a sacrifice and call upon the divine to consume it with fire. The priests of Baal tried—and failed—as Baal was not a god at all. Along the way Elijah taunts them—“Cry louder, he must be sleeping. Maybe he’s on vacation!” When it was Elijah’s turn he rebuilt the true altar and even doused the sacrifice with water. When he called on God, God answered with fire.
Even today Mount Carmel has an important place in our faith. It was on Mount Carmel that the Carmelite Order was founded. This order has two well known saints and doctors of the Church—St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. Their charism is like the mount itself—to walk up to God through prayer and meditation.
We come to a spiritual mount this afternoon as we come to Mass. We leave the world to walk up to God. As we do, may we reflect on what is happening here well.