Readings: 1 Kings 18:20-39, Ps. 16:1-2,4-5,8,11, Matthew 5:17-19

“Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)

In yesterday’s Gospel passage, Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. This analogy is not just a metaphor but a call to action for us, the modern Christians, who are also meant to shine our light amid the pervading darkness around us, just like Elijah did in his time.

- Why is Elijah standing alone? This contest did not happen in a foreign land; it took place in Isreal, the land of God’s chosen people, the same people who said to Moses, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” (Exodus 24:7). Elijah is standing alone because evil, like wild locusts, has consumed a whole nation. Jesus would say: “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14). Even if you are the last man standing, continue to insist on living a righteous life.

- Jesus also said: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” (Luke 10:12, Matthew 9:37). Am I among the few labourers? On the other hand, only a few labourers are needed for a successful harvest. Remember, only a little salt is needed to make an entire soup pot sweet. God is not interested in quantity; He wants quality. Jesus came to save millions of people, but He chose only twelve disciples. Do not be overwhelmed by the size of your opposition. You might be the only person against a crowd, but with God on your side, you are bigger than the crowd. No matter how small a light bulb may be, it is never intimidated by the size of the room; it keeps shining to its full capacity.

- What does it take to be an Elijah today? Jesus answers this question in today’s Gospel passage - no compromise. “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19). Many Christians begin very well as new converts (or newly baptised and confirmed); they are excited about God, never miss their daily prayers, and never miss an opportunity to pray or read the bible. Over time, their excitement begins to fade; they start giving excuses here and there, and they also start bending their values little by little. They would say: “God understands; it is not bad; it is just a little this and a little that.” Soon, they are deep into what they once preached against. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a vagabond, and want like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:10-11).

- If you are on God’s side, be assured of victory. Elijah asked the people to drench the offerings with water three times to prove that God’s power is greater than what science can explain. Elijah did not need to shout or cut his skin like the prophets of Baal. He did not pray like many Christians who use empty phrases claiming to be speaking in tongues. Elijah prayed with faith, and God granted his request immediately. In prayer, faith is more important than words. It is not how many words you use or how high your voice is that matters; it is whether you believe that God can do what you ask.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, bless me with the courage of Elijah so that I may remain with you even if I am the only one left standing. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. May God's abundant blessings be upon us all. (Wednesday of week 10 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Kings 18:20-39, Ps. 16:1-2,4-5,8,11, Matthew 5:17-19).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu