Tuesday of the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time
(I Kings 17:7-16; Matthew 5:13-16)
Some people may knock the word of God as hot air. But how can Americans deny its value? In a famous address Governor John Winthrop used an image from the gospel today to describe his hopes for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He said that the community should be like a “city on a hill” whose justice would be an example to all. In time America, thinking of itself – at its best moments -- in this way, would lead the world in liberty and justice. In the nineteenth century President Abraham Lincoln continually referred to the word of God in articulating his policies of abolition of slavery and reconciliation of enemies. Within the memory of many alive today the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., relied on the word of God to shape and establish a vision of human dignity and racial harmony.
The first reading today demonstrates the power of the word of God. Elijah acts on its demanding instructions. Because of its proven efficacy he can confidently tell the pagan widow of Zarephath not to fear as she exhausts her provisions feeding him. Finally, the word’s bounty provides for the woman’s continued need of food during draught.
As much as Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, we can rely on the word of God in our personal lives. We find wisdom and consolation in Scripture. Even more significantly, we ground our beings in its Eucharistic incarnation. Its shapes our thoughts and enlivens our actions so that we become, as Jesus recommends, virtual salt and light to the world. As salt we make life for others worth living; as light we show them the way to God’s Kingdom.