Friday of the Twenty-seventh week in Ordinary Time
"...then the kingdom of God has come upon you"
Because Enoch was pleasing to God he was translated bodily into heaven, thus prefiguring the translation of the just. Elijah, too, was taken up just as he was, in the substance of his bodily shape (2Kgs 2,11), foreshadowing by this the taking up of the spiritual man. Their bodies did not in any way prevent this translation or taking up for it was by means of the same hands by which they were formed in the beginning (Gn 2,7) that they were translated and taken up. Because, in the case of Adam, God’s hands were accustomed to guide, hold and carry the work they had formed, to take it up and set it down wherever they wanted. And where was this first man placed? In Paradise, undoubtedly, as Scripture says: “And God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed,” (v.8). And it was from there that he was expelled in this world for having disobeyed…
Does anyone believe that it is impossible men should remain alive for as long as the first of the patriarchs? Does he think that Elijah was not taken up in his body but that his body was consumed on the chariot of fire? Let him consider that Jonah, having been cast to the bottom of the sea and swallowed up in the belly of the fish, was cast up on the shore safe and sound at God’s orders. Ananias, Azarias and Mizael, thrown into a fiery furnace heated up seven times, experienced no harm and not even a smell of fire was about them (Dan 3,94). If the hand of God helped them and accomplished extraordinary things in them, impossible to human nature, what is astonishing if this same hand likewise accomplished an extraordinary thing by carrying out the will of the Father in those who were translated? Now this Hand is the Son of God, (cf Dan 3,92).
Saint Irenaeus of Lyons