Jesus Wants No Half Measures From Us!
Thursday of Week 10 in Ordinary Time - Cycle II
1 Kings 18:41-46 & Mt. 5:20-26
"If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not get into the kingdom of Heaven." What did Jesus mean by these words? I am sure the scribes and Pharisees wanted to get to Heaven but were just doing the bare minimum that would enable them to achieve their ambition. That was not enough for Jesus Who always wants us to give of our best, in everything that we do in life.
Do you look to the Kingdom of God and hope to get there? Do not just look! Bring the Kingdom of God into your heart. That's the way to make sure you will get there.
Elijah was one of those people who did not do things by half measure. During his time there was a drought and he truly prayed for rain. It reminds me of a story. There was once drought in a missionary country and the local people longed for rain. They appealed to their witch doctors but their magic failed. So in desperation they went to the missionary priest and asked him if he could pray to God to send rain. He told them to come to his Church the next day for Mass. The priest looked at the hundreds there and said, 'O ye of little faith! Not one of you has turned up with an umbrella!'
Now let us see how Elijah prayed for rain. He didn't just join his hands and bow his head. He earnestly prayed by putting his face between his knees. Then he told his servant to go up and look out to the sea. He returned and said he saw nothing. He told him to go back seven times. After the seventh time the servant told Elijah, "Now there is a cloud, small as a man's hand, rising from the sea." What faith Elijah had in God.
In the Gospel reading today Jesus said, "You have heard how it was said, that you must not kill." The scribes and Pharisees could be very proud of themselves for they had never stabbed anyone in the back. So they could be very complacent and say what good people they were. The same is true of us. You and I have not killed anyone. But have we assassinated people by our sharp tongue, by the things we speak about them behind their backs? We can do this not only with our tongue but also in our thoughts.
Before Jesus sees us at Mass He wants to see us at peace with our brothers and sisters, not at enmity with anyone. Remember His words, "So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering."
Lord Jesus, whatever we do may we do it wholeheartedly with whatever talents You have given us, and may the kingdom of Heaven reign in our hearts now and forever.