19th Sunday Ordinary Time: Exodus and Liturgy

Contact information for Fr Smith: Tel.: 718.625.1177 ext 409 or email ([email protected])

Meet and Greet:

We will meet and greet our new parishioners including the students who will be joining us for the year after all the Masses (9:00 AM, 11:15 AM, and 7 PM) on Sunday, September 16, 2018

If you are have just moved to the community please attend; if you are already a parishioner please bring anyone who might be interested.

Outreach Committee:

We are seeking parishioners to help in our outreach efforts in the community. We will have an organizational meeting on Tuesday, September 18 at 7 PM in the Rectory at 31 Sidney Place. Food will be served. Please RSVP to [email protected] .



Adult Education and Sacraments:



Baptism, Communion and Confirmation: Non-Catholics who wish to become Catholic or Catholics who wish to receive Baptism, Communion or Confirmation are asked to call or email Fr Smith. The classes will begin in the Fall.

Marriage: St Charles Parish congratulates those who will become engaged this summer and we wish to accompany you on your way to the altar and beyond. Please contact Fr Smith at your earliest convenience. This includes those who will be married in another Parish and especially those who will be married in another country.


Scripture Program:

The Scripture program will begin again in the Fall. As previously they will be small groups which will meet at various times and places throughout the week. If you are interested, please call Fr Smith.


First reading:

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 12, 2018

1 Kings 19:4-8


The first readings for the Sunday Mass are chosen to compliment the Gospels. They are interesting and beautiful, but would not be chosen for a systematic exploration of the Old Testament. Sometimes, however, a reading can put several Old Testament themes and experiences we have been reviewing in a new light. This is one of those times. Let us remember the readings from the last two weeks.


We met Elijah two weeks ago. He appeared seemingly out of nowhere in Israel, the northern kingdom of Jews, around 870BC. This was about 50 years after the death of Solomon and dissolution of the United Kingdom of the Hebrews. The nation was prosperous but had compromised the worship of the Lord. In the name of God Elijah cursed them with a drought and then fled from the anger of the King and Queen and hid throughout Israel. The section immediately preceding today’s reading says:

1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done—that he had put all the prophets to the sword. 2 Jezebel then sent a messenger to Elijah and said, “May the gods do thus and so to me if by this time tomorrow I have not done with your life what was done to each of them.” (1 Kings 19:1–2)


This time Elijah leaves Israel entirely and goes to Beersheba in the southern kingdom of Judea. He is tired and walks into the desert, begs God to take his life and then falls asleep.  God sends an angel, wakes him up and gives him food and drink. He falls asleep again and the angel again wakes him up and this time both feeds him and gives him a mission:


7 but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”

8 He got up, ate and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb. (1 Kings 19:7–8 )

Now we should remember that Elijah’s ministry has not been without effect. Although the land was cursed with drought God has miraculously fed him and cared for those who took him in. Also, he has had a major triumph over the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. They were not only humiliated but also killed by the direct power of God. (1 Kings 18)

God did not abandon Elijah, but he chose him as a prophet not as a spectator and he would not let him abandon his role and responsibilities. We see this throughout the entire old testament the chosen people often lose their desire to be chosen. They forget that this their identity and God needs to remind them.

Memory though had a specific meaning for Semitic people. The base word is Zakhor and from it comes the idea of zikkaron. This is the recognition that there were some events so important that they reflect the unique action of God. We remember them not by bringing them to mind but by bringing them to life; commemoration is not enough there must be participation. The key event for the Jewish people was the Passover/Exodus in which Moses led the people through the red sea and after 40 years of wandering in the desert to the promised land. This event made them a people and remembering it was more than simple commemoration. To this day Orthodox Jews believe that when they celebrate the Seder they join with Moses and the people on Exodus. This has been put very well:

Those present are not only remembering something in the past, as if they were witnessing the event from afar, but are participating in the actual Exodus through the liturgy. Their celebration is a part of God’s ongoing saving activity, not only in the past, but here and now (Folke T. Olofsson)

The way we connect to these events is liturgy: the public act of worship of the entire community

Now let us remember last week’s reading from Exodus. Although God has led them out of Egypt and given them a great victory over Pharaoh, they sulk and wish for the safety of their chains. We do not know how much of the feeding with manna is historical, but we do know that it is liturgical. This was a liturgical act because it was a ritual means of participating in the Exodus. Participation in the Exodus is not reproduction of details but connection with the reality behind it. They experienced the Passover/Exodus and then continued it.

In this week’s reading, Elijah is sent to Mt. Horeb; it is another name for Sinai, and it was there that Moses went to stay with God and received the Ten Commandments.

18 But Moses passed into the midst of the cloud as he went up on the mountain; and there he stayed for forty days and forty nights. Exodus 24:18

Elijah’s meeting with God on the mountain was also memorable.


11 Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire—but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” (1 Kings 19:11–13)


Elijah is here acting out a liturgy; he is remembering the Passover. The echoes of the Passover/Exodus and wandering in the Elijah story are so many that they would be distracting to record here, but note how God reveals his power but also his freedom to act. He causes the usual signs of theophany, divine revelation, seen with Moses and expected by Elijah but chooses not to be in them. He shows himself in a tiny whispering sound. Elijah hears that sound and continues his journey.

Christians have inherited this sense of memory as participation most clearly in the Eucharist. Each Mass is not another sacrifice of Jesus; it is our participation in Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice on Calvary. The ritual can change, as many of us have seen in our own lifetimes, but the reality does not. The Exodus, as we have seen, means lead out by God’s power. We need to remember that we are led to a place by God’s love. Like the Hebrews and Elijah in the desert we know that we must begin by “remembering” God’s decisive intervention in the world. Like them, we do not know where we will end, but we do know that it will be with Him.