Homilies and reflections
Sister Laudem Gloriae
The Rev. Adrian Farrelly
Catholic Women Preach
Crista Carrick Mahoney
The First Reading
(2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a)
Elisha & the Shunammite Woman
Life Lessons from a Shunammite Woman
By DeVonne White
Lesson 1: Take Time for Hospitality
This woman’s miraculous story would have never happened if she had not been a woman who offered hospitality. She noticed these two men who traveled past her home time after time and knew one was a holy man of God. Our text says she persuaded them to eat some food. Our Shunammite Woman takes things a step further and has a great idea. She has a room built for Elisha, a place where he and his servant Gehazi can retreat and rest. Now that is hospitality, having a room added on to your home.
Lesson 2: Be Content
Elisha decides that he wants to do something nice for this hospitable woman. They call her to the upper room to have a chat and it goes like this – ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’” She answers, “I dwell among my own people.” This translates to “I am content.” She could have requested anything, but she simply says – “I’m content” and leaves the room.
Lesson 3: Know that God Sees Our Buried Dreams
God is about to dig up a long buried dream in our lady. They call her to the upper room for a second time and lay bare a deep buried dream – She could not bear to have her long buried dream dug up, even if it came in the form of a promise. Ever have a dream like that, one you hold so near and dear to your heart, that you don’t even speak of it? I have a few. We may try to bury them deep, but God sees our hearts and every unfulfilled dream they hold. The spirit of a woman is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the inner depths of her heart. (Proverbs 20:27)
Lesson 4: A Gift Given and Taken – Find the Roots of Your Faith
Her buried dream is resurrected and comes to life. I can imagine her joy, as her little son grew. I am sure she watched out the window as her young son and his father made their way out to the fields.
I can feel her heart fall in her chest as she sees a servant at her door, with her limp son in his arms. Her grief as she holds him, as his breath leaves his body for the last time. At this point I would have been screaming out to anyone who would hear me. Not her, she takes him to the upper room, lays him on the bed and shuts the door.
She knows where she needs to go. To the man of God – who reflected the very presence of God. Her only words – “All is well” she speaks them twice, once to her husband and the second time to Gehazi. The truth was, all was not well. This is where she had to dig deep into her faith in the One who had already made the impossible, possible.
Lesson 5: Hold Tight and Don’t Let Go
She reaches out for Elisha’s healing and a strange thing happens Gehazi tries to push her away. Why would he? It was his job, to protect the presence of God that lived within Elisha. When she reached out, she wasn’t just grabbing a hold of Elisha, she was reaching out and touching the very presence of God. She had no intention of letting go.
Lesson 6: There Will Be Doubters
Elisha gives clear instruction to Gehazi, “If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.”
Why not talk to anyone? One reason, there will always be the doubters and the naysayers. They, in a minute, can steal your faith. Second reason, the can try to make a spectacle of what is about to happen. Gehazi does as he is asked and returns to them saying, “The child has not awakened.” Interesting that he does not say, “The child is dead.” In faith, this little party for three presses forward to the upper room.
Lesson 7: God Restores
The resurrection power of God comes and a dead child is brought pack to life. Oh the joy and thankfulness that flooded her heart! Her husband had never known that anything had gone wrong. Wow, I am simply amazed at how this woman held it together. In faith, she knew that the only One who could restore her son to her, was the One who had given him to her. Her God.
In life we can loose things that we treasure. Ones we love, our homes, our land, even our way of life. I think of the many war torn countries that have every single thing, they stand there with nothing left. There is only one, who can completely restore us, protect us and provide for us. God shows that to our Shunammite woman again. When difficult times come our way, we must ask ourselves, “In Whom do I place my faith?” In myself, in others, or in God? When we step outside of ourselves and say, “I choose God.” We can truly say it and mean it, in any circumstance. “All is well”.
For children: Elisha and the Shunammite Woman
(Kids on the Move)
The Rev. Ian VanHeusen
The Rev. John Frauenfelder
What Does It Mean to Take Up Your Cross?