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. Jul 2020 .
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Doctrines & Morals

God alone answers the prayers of His people

1 Kgs 18:20-39, Mt. 5:17-19. The genuine prophets were often in conflict with the existing status quo that is against justice. They set us before fundamental options, just as Elijah did in today's first reading: “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Ba’al, then follow him.” The king and the people had not obeyed this, instead chose to follow the false ways of the foreign pagan gods, committing great sin before God. 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, the One who brought them out of their slavery in Egypt and provided them with the Promised Land, or Ba'al, the pagan god of the Canaanites who was worshipped by the great majority of the Israelites.

Through the contest, Elijah manifested the power of God as the one and only 'True God', who ought to be worshipped and loved. He alone answers 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 Ba'al remained untouched despite all that they did and the truth of the falsehood of Ba'al was exposed before all to see. To obey and follow the one and only 'True God', we must commit ourselves to the spirit of the Law. The demand of the letter of the Law (the Torah) could pave way for pretence and unauthentic spirituality, but the demand of the "LAW OF LOVE" introduced by Jesus in today's Gospel helps us to avoid punishment centred spirituality or reward seeking faith. The guardians of the Law interpreted the Law according to their self interest, as such ended up becoming 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. Today, Jesus reminds us that the Law stipulates that we must put God first and foremost in our lives, entrusting ourselves completely to His care and loving Him with all of our strength and might.

May the Lord give wisdom and discernment to those who make our laws and those who implement them so that we may work in the way of justice and peace! Amen!! Stay safe and have a wonderful day!!!

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