1 Kings 18:41-46
Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13
The first reading tells us about the end of a long drought in the northern Kingdom of Israel. Elijah knows the rain is coming and tells King Ahab to eat and drink, for the famine and drought are over.
Elijah himself climbs Mount Carmel to wait for the rain as it comes in from the sea. He is bent over, possibly in prayer, and does not raise his eyes to the sea. Instead he has his servant informing him of what takes place. He trusts fully in God’s word and does not need to see to believe. In the servant’s seventh report, the servant tells Elijah that he sees a small cloud, rising from the sea, which indicates that the promised rain is near.
Although the story is not as powerful as the one we read yesterday, it does teach us an important lesson about God’s providence and about how he watches over us. The psalm praises God for his loving care: God has visited the land and watered it with rain. This is necessary for an abundant and rich harvest.
It is important when pray to God not to limit ourselves to our material needs. The psalm can be read in the light of Jesus Christ and we see that there is a much greater visitation that will take place – the Incarnation of the Son of God. Jesus brings us, not earthly water that lasts for a time, but living water that gives eternal life (4:14). We are in need of salvation, not just from famine or drought, but from sin and death. God, in his providence, did not leave us to ourselves when our first parents sinned against him, but sent his only Son to save us.
When we present ourselves before God, we do so as people redeemed in Christ. We form part of the Body of Christ and are bound with others in love. Having something against our brothers or sisters wounds this unity and charity. Calling them “a fool” goes against the peace and joy that Christ brings.
Our righteousness or holiness does not consist in the fulfillment of detailed external rites. The Pharisees were confused on this point. Our righteousness and holiness is in union with Christ. This union with Christ and the communion we share with others in Christ is a gift that we need to accept and protect. That is why Christ tells each one of us today: go first and be reconciled with you brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at [email protected].