Saint Elisha, Prophet
“Elijah came upon Elisha and threw his cloak over him. Immediately Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah as his attendant” (cf. 1 Kgs 19:19-21). Elisha was filled with the spirit of Elijah; among the many signs he performed, he cured Naaman of leprosy and raised a dead child to life. He lived among the sons of the prophets and in God's name he frequently intervened in the affairs of the Israelites.
Mindful of its origin on Mount Carmel, the Carmelite Order desired to perpetuate the memory of the great prophets' presence and deeds through the liturgical celebration of Sts Elijah and Elisha. Thus the General Chapter of 1399 decreed the celebration of the feast of St Elisha. Through his fidelity to the true God and by his service to God's people, St Elisha effectively illustrates the meaning of the prophetic office in our day.
Entrance Antiphon See 2 Kg 2:15; 3:12
The spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha and the word of the Lord was with him.
protector and redeemer of mankind,
whose glories have been proclaimed through the wonders
accomplished by your chosen prophets,
you have bestowed the spirit of Elijah
on your prophet Elisha;
in your kindness grant us too
an increase of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
so that, living as prophets,
we will bear constant witness
to your abiding presence and providence.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
A reading from the second book of the Kings 2Kgs 5:7a,8-16,17b
Let him come to me, and he will find that there is a prophet in Israel.
In those days, when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his garments. ‘Am I a god to give death and life,' he said ‘that he sends a man to me and asks me to cure him of his leprosy'? When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king, ‘Why did you tear your garments? Let him come to me, and he will find there is a prophet in Israel.' Naaman came with his team and chariot and drew up at the door of Elisha's house. And Elisha sent him a messenger to say, ‘Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more'.
But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, ‘Here was I thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the leprous part. Surely Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than any water in Israel? Could I not bathe in them and become clean'?
And he turned round and went off in a rage. But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, “Bathe, and you will become clean”'.
So Naaman went down and immersed himself seven times in the river Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.
Returning to the man of God with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know' he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Now, please, accept a present from your servant'. But Elisha replied, ‘As Yahweh lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing' and despite Naaman's urging, he still refused. Naaman said: “I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except Yahweh.”
Alternative First Reading
A reading from the second book of the Kings 2Kgs 2:11-15b
The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.
As Elijah and Elisha walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind. Elisha saw it, and shouted, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!' Then he lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he tore them in half. He picked up the cloak of Elijah which had fallen from him, and went back and stood at the bank of the Jordan.
He took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water. ‘Where is Yahweh, the God of Elijah?' he cried. He struck the water, and it divided right and left, and Elisha crossed over.
The brotherhood of prophets saw him in the distance, and said, ‘The spirit of Elijah has come to rest on Elisha.'
Responsorial Psalm Ps103:1.24,27-28,29bc-30
R/. Send forth your spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.
Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are.
How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your riches. R/.
All of these look to you
to give them their food in due season
You give it, they gather it up:
you open your hand, they have their fill. R/.
You take back your spirit, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth. R/.
Gospel Acclamation cf.2Kgs 5,8; 13,14
Let everyone know there is a prophet in Israel,
Israel's father, chariot and driver.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 4:24-27
In the prophet Elisha's time there were many lepers in Israel.
When Jesus came to Nazareth, he said to the people in the synagogue: “I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country. There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah's day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha's time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman".
Prayer over the Gifts
in ancient sacrifices you foreshadowed these present gifts.
Graciously grant that,
through this sacred exchange
which we perform in honour of your prophet Elisha,
we too may become an everlasting gift to you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon 2Kg 4:44
The man of God placed loaves made from the first fruits before them; they ate and there was some left over; as the Lord had said.
Prayer after Communion
in the marvellous deeds of your prophet Elisha
you have wonderfully prefigured the bread of life.
Grant we pray, that strengthened by this food
we may ever fulfil our prophetic office.
We ask this through Christ our Lord