Elijah prayed, and the heaven gave rain (James 5. 18).
A reading from the first Book of Kings (1 Kings18:41-46)
In those days: Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look towards the sea.” And he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again seven times.” And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising out of the sea.” And he said, “GO up; say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.”’ And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
The word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm65:10abcd.10c-11.12-13 (R. 2ab).
R/. Praise is due to you in Sion, O God
You visit the earth, give it water;
you fill it with riches.
God’s ever-flowing river brims over
to prepare the grain. R/.
And thus you provide for the earth:
you drench its furrows;
you level it, soften it with showers;
you bless its growth. R/.
R/. Praise is due to you in Sion, O God.
You crown the year with your bounty.
Abundance flows in your pathways;
in pastures of the desert it flows.
The hills are girded with joy. R/.
ALLELUIA John 13:34
Alleluia. A new commandment I give to you, says the Lord, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. Alleluia
”Every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 5:20-26)
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgement.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool! ‘shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.”
The Gospel of the Lord
The offerings we bring to the altar of God are not as important as the loving relationship God wants us to have with our neighbour. There would be no need to bring our offerings to the altar if we do not strive for peaceful co-existence in our communities. The gospel reading calls upon us to practice forgiveness and reconciliation. Anger is one of the seven capital sins. We must not allow the sunset to see us still angry. We should pursue peace with all men and the spirits of holiness, too, without which no eye shall see the Lord. The love of God was revealed to Ahab and to entire Israel through the prophet Elijah at whose word Yahweh sent down rain upon the land after the heavens had been shut for three years. On the good and bad alike, God sends his rain. Our love and reconciliation should extend to our enemies as well.