Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Kings 17:7-16; Matthew 5:13-16)
Pope Francis frequently criticizes the cult of money in the world today. People, he would say, pursue money when they should look to God for salvation. No few “straddle the issue,” as the prophet Elijah accuses the Israelites in today’s first reading, by making appearances in church while they skirt morality in their quest to increase their wealth.
Elijah calls the people’s bet. He challenges the prophets of Baal, the local god, to evoke the god’s participation in a sacrifice. Despite the prophets’ pleadings, however, no sign is perceived from Baal’s heaven. When Elijah calls down Israel’s Lord to consume his sacrifice, however, lightening immolates the carnage.
What is it about the God of Israel that shows him to be real? Why do we believe in Him? After all, if someone tried to duplicate Elijah’s feat today, he would be branded a fool. We still call on God for assistance, but perhaps more wonderfully he calls on us to treat others justly. Our Creator has established laws by which we are to act in conformity with what we know in our nature to be right. Thus, he shows Himself today to be the true God.