10th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1 K 18:41–46
Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for the sound of rain is rushing in.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. Elijah, in the meantime, went to the top of Carmel, bowed to the ground and put his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, “Go up and look in the direction of the sea.” The man went up, looked, and said, “There is nothing.” Then Elijah said, “Go again” and seven times he went. At the seventh time, he perceived a little cloud, the size of a man’s hand, rising out of the sea. Elijah told him, “Go, tell Ahab: Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.” A little later the sky grew dark with clouds and wind and a strong rain fell. Ahab was riding on his way to Jezreel; as for Elijah, the hand of Yahweh was on him, and tucking his cloak in his belt, he ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus said to the crowds, “I tell you, then, that if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to our people in the past: Do not commit murder; anyone who does kill will have to face trial. But now I tell you: whoever gets angry with a brother or sister will have to face trial. Whoever insults a brother or sister deserves to be brought before the council; whoever calls a brother or a sister ‘Fool’ deserves to be thrown into the fire of hell. So, if you are about to offer your gift at the altar and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your gift to God.
“Don’t forget this: be reconciled with your opponent quickly when you are together on the way to court. Otherwise he will turn you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, who will put you in jail. There you will stay, until you have paid the last penny.”
Jesus is not adding more rules to the multitude of rules that the scribes and Pharisees deduced from the Law; rather he approaches everything from a deeper level. You may have hundred, even thousands of hectares, but if they are just barren rock, you will starve, because nothing will grow there. “Where there is no depth of soil, the seed comes to nothing” (Mk 4:5), and likewise when your actions do not spring from a deep life they wither before they can bear fruit. At the same time deep ‘interior’ life by itself is not enough; it has to flow out into activity and become visible and effective. Every word has to become flesh eventually in one way or another.
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