Daily Gospel – Thursday, June 13, 2024 – Matthew 5,17-20 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (1 Kings 18,41-46)

Reading of the First Book of Kings.

In those days, Elijah said to Ahab: “Go up, eat and drink, for I already hear the sound of heavy rain.” While Ahab went up to eat and drink, Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, prostrated himself on the ground and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the sea.” He went up, looked and said, “There is nothing.” Elijah said to him again, “Return seven times.” The seventh time the servant said, “Behold, a cloud is rising from the sea, as small as a man’s hand.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go tell Ahab to prepare the chariot and go down, so that the rain does not stop him.” In the meantime, the sky was covered with dark clouds, the wind blew and the rain fell in torrents. Ahab got into his chariot and left for Jezreel. The hand of the Lord was upon Elijah; and he, girding his loins, ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Matthew 5,20-26)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “Unless your righteousness is greater than the righteousness of the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

You have heard that it was said to the ancients: ‘You shall not kill! Whoever kills will be condemned by the court’. But I say to you: everyone who is angry with his brother will be a defendant in judgment; whoever says to his brother: ‘Rascal!’ will be sentenced by the court; whoever calls his brother a ‘fool’ will be condemned to the fires of hell. Therefore, when you are bringing your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go first to be reconciled with your brother. Only then will he present your offer. He seeks to reconcile you with your adversary, as he walks with you to the court. Otherwise your adversary will hand you over to the judge, the judge will hand you over to the bailiff, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not leave until you pay the last penny.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the readings we heard bring us profound messages about fidelity to God, justice and reconciliation. The first reading from the Book of Kings introduces us to the prophet Elijah, a man of great faith and devotion to God, and in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus challenges us to reflect on true justice and the importance of reconciliation. These biblical passages invite us to examine our lives, our relationships with God and others, and to commit to a path of true conversion and peace.

The story of the prophet Elijah is an impressive testimony of faith and perseverance. After a period of devastating drought in Israel, Elijah, guided by God, announces to King Ahab that rain is about to come. Elijah climbs to the top of Mount Carmel, bows to the ground and prays fervently. He tells his servant to look at the sea seven times until finally a small cloud, the size of his palm, appears on the horizon. Elijah recognizes this as a sign that God is answering his prayers and warns Ahab to prepare, for abundant rain is on the way. Soon the sky fills with clouds and the earth is blessed with the long-awaited rain.

Elijah teaches us about the importance of perseverance in prayer and unshakable faith in God. Even when everything seems barren and hopeless, like the dry land during a drought, Elijah does not give up. He believes in the power of God and continues praying until the sign of hope appears. This reminds us that in our lives we also face moments of spiritual drought, of difficulties and challenges that seem insurmountable. At these times, we are called to follow Elijah’s example: keep our faith, continue praying and trust that God will hear our pleas and respond at the right time.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus challenges us to rethink our understanding of justice. He tells us: “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus is not calling for mere conformity to the letter of the law, but a radical transformation of the heart. He calls us to live a justice that goes beyond appearances, which comes from a pure heart reconciled with God and others.

Jesus continues to teach us about the importance of reconciliation. He says: “If you are about to offer your gift before the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go first and be reconciled with your brother; then come make your offer.” With these words, Jesus emphasizes that our relationships with others directly impact our relationship with God. We cannot truly be in communion with God if we are at odds with our brothers and sisters.

To illustrate this, let’s think about a garden. If we want our garden to flourish, we need to take careful care of it. We need to pull out the weeds that choke the plants, water the flowers and ensure they receive the light they need. Likewise, for our spiritual life to flourish, we need to remove the weeds of bitterness, anger, and resentment. We need to nourish our hearts with the water of reconciliation and the light of forgiveness.

Reconciling with others can be a challenge. Often, pride, hurt and fear prevent us from taking the first step. But Jesus reminds us that reconciliation is essential for a truly just and fulfilling life. He calls us to overcome these obstacles and seek peace with our brothers and sisters, for only in this way can we offer God a pure and reconciled heart.

Let’s think about some practical ways to apply these lessons to our lives. First, let us follow Elijah’s example in prayer. If we are facing difficulties or moments of discouragement, let us not give up praying. Even when we do not see immediate signs of a response, let us continue to trust God and persevere in faith. Just as the small cloud was a sign of the abundant rain to come, small signs in our lives can be indications that God is hearing our prayers and acting on our behalf.

Second, let’s examine our relationships. Is there someone we need to reconcile with? Maybe it’s a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or even someone here at church. If we have any resentment or unresolved conflict, let us take the initiative to seek reconciliation. This could mean asking for forgiveness, forgiving someone, or simply starting an honest and open conversation.

And let us remember that the justice that Jesus calls us to live goes beyond external rules. It requires a heart transformed by God’s love and mercy. To cultivate this justice in our lives, we need to dedicate ourselves to a life of prayer, reflection, and righteous action. We need to be attentive to the needs of others and be agents of peace and reconciliation in our world.

May we be like Elijah, persevering in faith and prayer, trusting that God is with us and acting in our lives, even in times of drought and difficulty. May we follow Jesus’ call to a justice that springs from a pure and reconciled heart, always seeking peace with our brothers and sisters.

Let’s now have a moment of silence. Let us close our eyes and ask God for the grace to identify in our lives what needs to be changed. May the Holy Spirit guide us and give us strength to seek reconciliation and true justice.

Lord, we thank You for today’s lessons. Help us to live according to Your will, to be persevering in prayer like Elijah and to seek justice and reconciliation according to Jesus’ teaching. May we be light in the world, reflecting Your love in every action and word. Amen.

My brothers and sisters, as we leave here today, let us take with us the determination to live as true followers of Christ. May God’s grace accompany us and may we be instruments of His peace and love in the world. Remember, we are called to be light and salt – let us shine and flavor the world with the goodness, justice and love of God. Amen.