Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Scripture readings today, we may not be able to immediately see the link between the different passages which we have heard today. But in fact all of them spoke of a singular message which all of us must know and understand. Our first reading was taken from the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah, telling us how the prophet Elijah went up against king Ahab and his four hundred and fifty priests of Baal.
And in the Gospel we heard how Jesus was telling the people as well as His disciples about how He came not to nullify and replace the old Law, but instead to reaffirm and confirm the Law and reveal its truth to the whole world. He came not to destroy the old Law but to renew that Law and to bring the people to understand fully the meaning and the purpose of that Law.
How do the two readings reconcile and link with each other? In fact, what we heard from the Old Testament is the most fundamental belief which all of us must have if we are to call ourselves as Christians. We are Christians because we believe in that one and only True God, Jesus Christ, Who has come into the world to be our Saviour, redeeming us from death and sin.
And it was the same God about Whom Elijah preached among a population of unbelievers, the people of the northern kingdom of Israel who had followed their kings into the worship of Baal, Asherah and the other pagan gods worshipped by their neighbours, the Canaanites, Ammonites, Moabites and others. Those people refused to remain true to the covenant which their ancestors had established with God.
God gave His commandments and laws to Moses, so that through him, His people might come to know of His precepts and ways, and therefore obey the rules and the regulations that would be part of the covenant which He established with them. And among the commandments and laws that He had given them, all of them spoke of the same thing, that we the people of God must love God with all of our heart and with all our attention, and then show the same love to our parents, our family, our neighbours and all others around us.
And the people of Israel at the time of Elijah had abandoned those laws and forgotten the love which God has given them. They no longer loved and served the Lord, and instead they served the pagan idols and fornicated themselves, committing wicked acts in the sight of God. But God Who loved us all still wanted to give us a chance, and thus, He sent to them the prophet Elijah to bring the revelation of His truth to those rebellious people.
And Elijah showed the might and the power of God, to lead the people to know that God is the One and the only One Whom they ought to worship. And that same God has then shown us His love and faithfulness, by fulfilling the Law and its covenant through Jesus Christ, as God Himself became one of us, so that through Him all of us may gain perfection and eternal life.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus showed His perfect love, the perfect love of God by His own act of the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. He has loved us all even to the point of willingly picking up His cross and bearing our sins, so that we may be free from those sins and their consequences, and thus be made righteous through Him. He showed us all how to love by His own example, to love God with all of our heart, as Elijah had done, and as Jesus loved God His Father, and then loving one another in the same way as He has loved us all.
Let us all reflect on the love which God has generously granted to us, that as we share in His love, we may always be ever mindful of one another, and show love in all our actions, that in everything we do, we will show care, concern, compassion and love for each other, for our brethren, especially those who have no love in them, those who were unloved and ostracised, and those who are despised.
Let us all also love God in the same manner and more, devoting ourselves completely to Him. May God be with us all, and may He continue to love us all the same, always, now and forever. Amen.