Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture listening first of all to the account from the First Book of Kings in which we heard of the great drought and famine that occurred during the reign of king Ahab of Israel. At that time, king Ahab was infamous as one of the most sinful among the kings of Israel, as he and his wife, queen Jezebel did not just disobey God and led the people of the northern kingdom of Israel into sin, but their deeds such as the murder of Naboth the vinegrower was truly wicked and evil.
The drought and famine were not meant to make the people to suffer without reason or justice. Rather, the Lord wanted to remind them all that their wickedness and evil have not been in accordance with the natural law, and as a result, with nature out of balance, they had to suffer by their refusal to obey the Lord and by ignoring His calls for them to repent from their sins and return to Him.
Meanwhile, the prophet Elijah who was sent to minister to the people of Israel had to suffer a lot as well, as he was one of the few prophets who remained in Israel. Many of the other, earlier prophets had been persecuted and even killed, exiled and cast out from the land. Prophet Elijah was alone in his courageous efforts to turn the people back towards God, against not only just the king and the queen, but also against the worshippers of Baal and the other pagan gods, with the Baal priests alone numbering at least four hundred and fifty.
It would be difficult not to think that the prophet Elijah might have considered to give up his very difficult and challenging ministry, working among a people that were not open and willing to listen to his words and the words of God. But God reassured Elijah that those who remained faithful in Him would not be disappointed, for there would be justice given to them, just as the right justice and punishment would also be due to those who consistently and stubbornly refused to listen to Him.
In our Gospel reading today, then we heard of the famous Sermon on the Mount by the Lord Jesus, also known as the Beatitudes. These are a series of eight pronouncements by the Lord, as a very powerful reassurance to those who have listened to the Lord, followed Him, obeyed Him and walked in His ways. This is just what the Lord reassured the prophet Elijah with, and after hearing the punishment due to the wicked in our first reading, then we heard how being faithful to God is truly a good thing.
Therefore, as we heard, the Lord said that we are truly blessed if we are poor in spirit, mourn, gentle, hunger and thirst, gentle, merciful and being peacemakers, and these are reminders for all of us that as Christians, we are called to live our lives with virtues, obeying God’s laws, show love to our fellow brethren, and when we encounter challenges and difficulties, persecutions and troubles for being faithful then we must not give up our faith. All of us have to remain strong in our faith and stay committed to the end.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in our Scriptures today, we are all encouraged and called to walk with the Lord and to follow Him. We are called to devote ourselves, our time and effort for the greater glory of His Name following the examples of the ancient prophets like Elijah, as well as our many saints and martyrs, our predecessors in the faith. And we are reassured by God, that no matter what, if we are faithful to Him, then we will be protected and strengthened.
Let us all therefore renew our commitment to be ever more faithful from now on, to be more Christian in our way of life, to be good examples of our Christian virtues and actions in our every way of life and in our every interactions with one another. May the Lord be our Guide, source of strength and provide us with what we need, just as He protected and guided the prophet Elijah in his perilous missions and journeys. Amen.