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First Reading for the Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle 2

2 Kings 2:1, 6-14

Summary: Elijah is taken to heaven in a whirlwind, and Elisha receives a double portion of his spirit, showing God's power through him.

Elijah Taken to Heaven

When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, he and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here; the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.”

“As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you,” Elisha replied. And so the two went on together. Fifty of the guild prophets followed and when the two stopped at the Jordan, they stood facing them at a distance.

Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up and struck the water, which divided, and both crossed over on dry ground.

When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.”

Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.”

“You have asked something that is not easy,” Elijah replied. “Still, if you see me taken up from you, your wish will be granted; otherwise not.”

As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. When Elisha saw it happen he cried out, “My father! my father! Israel’s chariots and drivers!” But when he could no longer see him, Elisha gripped his own garment and tore it in two.

Then he picked up Elijah’s mantle that had fallen from him, and went back and stood at the bank of the Jordan. Wielding the mantle that had fallen from Elijah, Elisha struck the water in his turn and said, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” When Elisha struck the water it divided and he crossed over.

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