1 Kings 18:20-39; Psalm 16; Matthew 5:17-19
In the Gospel today, Jesus shows us the permanence of God’s law: not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. This is why the attempts of governments to change the laws of their land to be “in step with the times” is a corruption of God’s law. Jesus said nothing can change, UNTIL all is accomplished. God is the ultimate Lawgiver, not any prime minister, president or parliament. This is why we need to be careful with the argument that “It is legal, so it must be ok.” Not everything legal is pleasing to God because at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus corrected many human practices that were legal but immoral.
This is why the move of some Bishops to change the teaching of the Church through a synod is evil, because they have decided they want to change, not only a letter or a stroke of a letter, but they want to change the basic teaching of the Church as revealed by Jesus. They will mislead their flock and worse, they plan to force this on the entire Church. As Catholics, we need to learn our faith so we are not misled by teachers and preachers who distort the Word of God. We cannot pick and choose what we want about Church teaching because it comes as a single package. James 2:10 tells us: And whoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is guilty of all.
Jesus said: Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. This should give teachers and preachers some time to pause because they will be held responsible for what they teach. James 3:1 tells us those who teach will receive greater judgment. So we cannot interpret the teaching of the Church the way we want because if we do, and someone listens to us, we will be held accountable for it.
The First Reading shows us how we can remain faithful to God. Because of the idolatry in Israel, God was treated as one of the many gods. People picked and choose what they want about the law. Child sacrifice was acceptable, people were living immoral lives and the prophets of God were being killed, that Elijah thought he was the only one left. Which is why he said to the people: how long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him. Elijah gave the people a choice. Follow God with a whole heart. They cannot pick and choose the law they want to obey and reject what they could not accept. He confronted the 450 prophets of Baal in a contest to determine who is God. The story ended with God responding the Elijah’s prayer and burning his sacrifice with fire from heaven. God intervened to prove he is God and he calls his people to turn their hearts back.
Society and even Catholics have become lukewarm in their faith, picking and choosing what they want to believe, often times, mixing the practices of other religions into their own. This is why we see some Catholics believing in horoscopes, playing with the occult, supporting abortion and the corruption of the institution of marriage. But today, God is calling you to make a choice: If the Lord is God, then follow him, but if Baal is God, then follow him.
Today, Baal comes in many forms: power, money, fame, sex and other things that compromise our faith in God. Today, God is calling us to turn our hearts back to him. We may have sinned, picking and choosing what we want. We may have sinned, by choosing death rather than life, but all these can be forgiven, whether you have done evil things, or neglected him for a long time, or we may feel God is absent. BUT God constantly calls us to turn to him. He will forgive when we repent and choose him over other things. The Psalm today tells us: Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows. If we do not commit ourselves to God, do not love him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, with all our strength then our sorrows will multiply because all other gods will not satisfy because all they do is take. But God always gives life and gives it to the full. Come to Jesus and be filled with the life of God.
Lord, I have sinned, choosing things over you, making your creation my gods. Forgive me Lord and I reject these gods, these spirits that distract and mislead me. All I want is you and may I learn YOUR Truth and believe YOUR Truth. Help me to remain faithful to you.