Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we have listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded that all of us must be committed to God and we must obey His fundamental Law and truth, as revealed and taught to us by the Church, from the revelation of truth that the Lord Himself had revealed to us, and through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit passed down to us and through the Apostles.
In our first reading today, we listened to the story of the prophet Elijah as he went up against the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal at the Mount Carmel, one of the prominent mountains of Israel, as he went up before the king and the people of Israel in a great moment of reckoning, as he confronted king Ahab on his continued defiance against God and his continued worship of the pagan gods and idols such as Baal, openly promoted by the proliferation of so many priests of Baal.
What the prophet Elijah essentially did was that he reminded the king of the need for his obedience to the Law of God, to the laws revealed and handed down through Moses, to the Ten Commandments, first of which, was the obligation for all the faithful to worship and serve only one God, the One and True God of all. The king and the people had not obeyed this and instead chose to follow the false ways of the foreign pagan gods and idols, committing great sin before God.
This was why the prophet chose to stage a great contest before everyone so that all might witness and know Who the True God truly is, whether it was the God of Israel and the One Who brought the Israelites and their ancestors out of their slavery in Egypt and provided them with the Promised Land, or whether it was Baal, the pagan god of the Canaanites who was worshipped by the great majority of the Israelites and their king then.
The prophet Elijah showed before all the Israelites, that it was indeed God Who is the one and only True God, Who ought to be worshipped and loved, when he showed that God was the One Who listened to the prayers of His people, sending down great flame from heaven to burn the entire sacrificial offerings of Elijah, while the sacrificial offerings of the priests of Baal remain untouched, and despite all that they did, even in their desperation, the latter failed to show the presence and the truth of the falsehood of Baal was exposed before all to see.
This was in fact what the Lord in our Gospel passage today has been trying to say and reveal to His followers and all those who listened to Him, how He came into the world in order to reveal to the whole world and His people, what His true Law truly means, and in order to purify the Law to its original meaning, intent and purpose. As He Himself said that, nothing that is in the Law would be overruled or overwritten by Him, not even the smallest iota or part, and He came to fulfil the entire Law and not to destroy it, unlike what some of His enemies accused Him wrongly of.
What really happened then was such that the Law of God had been misinterpreted, misunderstood and misused over the many centuries since it has been revealed to the people of God. The elders and the many preceding guardians of the Law had interpreted the Law as they wished and wanted, and according to their own biases and prejudices. And they ended up becoming too focused and engrossed in the management and the nitty-gritty details of the Law, its execution and enforcement rather than on the true meaning and purpose of the Law itself.
The Lord Jesus, much like the prophet Elijah, reminded the people of God that the Law stipulated that each and every one of us, the faithful ones and beloved people of God must put God first and foremost n our lives, entrusting ourselves completely to His care and loving Him with all of our strength and might. He wanted this to happen, rather than for us mankind to be distracted by the many temptations present in life, the temptation of power and glory, for fame and human praise, as how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had been afflicted, or for the false promises of the devil, as how the Israelites of old had been swayed to the worship of Baal.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all realise that as Christians, that is as the members of God’s living Church here in this world, each and every one of us are bound to the same fundamental Law that God Himself had revealed to His people Israel, and which His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, had revealed further by His own teachings and by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit that He had sent down to us, to His Church and His faithful ones. Therefore, all of us ought to be true Christians from now on, in our every words, actions and deeds.
May the Lord give us His strength and strengthen our resolve to live faithfully according to His ways from now on. May the Lord bless each and every one of us, and may He empower us all to be true witnesses of His Resurrection and to our own Christian faith. Amen.