WEDNESDAY, TENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
(St Mariam Thresia Chiramel)
1 Kgs 18: 20-39; Ps 16: 1-2, 4-5, 8, 11; Mt 5: 17-19
Proper Readings: Hos 2:14-15,19-20; Ps 45:11-12,14-17; Lk 10:38-42
HOW LONG WILL YOU STRADDLE THE ISSUE?
In today’s first reading, Elijah testifies to God’s faithfulness, and asks the people of Israel whom they are faithful to. In short, Elijah puts it to us bluntly today: ‘How long will you straddle the issue?’ He is exasperated with the people of Israel, who go back and forth on which god they should follow. They agree to one final competition – winner takes it all! Elijah is trying to convince the people of God’s transcendent power over their lives. The way Elijah framed the issue – God vs Baal – is not one that we might see relevant today. But the issue when generalized is relevant for each of us, every day. We ‘straddle the issue’ when we find comfort in possessions and power and physical gratification, or when we rationalize and justify our actions, or when we don’t seek the will of God in all we do. In short, the event highlights these points
1) The challenge presented – a call for a decision (cf. 18:20-24)
2) The contest is set – a confident faith (cf. 8:35-35)
3) Only God shows up – a God you can trust (cf. 18:36-39)
The psalmists remind us that it is God who holds us fast, who keeps us safe, who shows us the path to life. Jesus shows us the path more clearly, and as he tells us in the Gospel today, whoever obeys will be treated as the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. But we must still choose. We must still frame the issue in a manner that we understand. We must still look at the competition between God, and the seduction of the comforts of this life, and answer Elijah’s question: ‘How long will you straddle the issue?’ Let us ask ourselves: In my everyday life am I limping between two different opinions? Am I waiting for God to prove that he is Lord? Do I have the courage to make the decision for God, and the determination to follow my convictions?
Response: Preserve me, O God, For in you I take refuge.
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