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1 Kings 18:41-46

Elijah said to Ahab, "Go back, eat and drink; for I hear the sound of rain." While Ahab went back to eat and drink, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel and bowed down to the earth, putting his face between his knees. "Now go up," he told his servant, "and look out to the seat." He went up and looked. "There is nothing at all," he said. "Go back seven times," Elijah said. The seventh time, the servant said, "Now there is a cloud, small as a man's hand, rising from the sea." Elijah said, "Go and say to Ahab, 'Harness the chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'" And with that the sky grew dark with cloud and storm, and rain fell in torrents. Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel. The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and tucking his cloak he ran in front of Ahab as far as the outskirts of Jezreel.


Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples: "If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

"You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother, 'Fool' he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him 'Renegade' he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny."


Jesus' words have been very harsh throughout this week's readings. He basically summarises it in today's first paragraph - that if you are no better than your leaders, there's no way you're going to get into heaven.

Very often, we look up to our leaders and we emulate them, we try to be like them. I remember once someone on an internet forum defending Bush's move to bring America to war, even though there was fierce opposition from the other nations. He patriotically stood by his leader. While that was admirable, one must also seek truth. Is what our leaders telling us the truth?

For this, we look to the keepers and guardians of truth - the Catholic Church and its magisterium, which has been given the responsibility of guarding the truth and sharing it with the world. This power and responsibility that the Church has is not its own; it has been given the power from above.

Just like Elijah. Whenever I read about Elijah, I think of him as some kind of Superman. I mean look at today's first reading - he runs in front of a chariot racing towards Jezreel. Faster than a speeding chariot, he is… and earlier in the week, he called down fire from heaven. But this power that he has is not his either; it has been given to him from above.

Whenever we focus on the wielder of the power instead of the source of the power, that's where we start to stray. When our leaders begin to think that the power that they have belong to them and they can use it however they like, that's where they start going downhill. Even the Catholic Church, if its leaders do not guard the truth that they have, then even they will go downhill. The only promise that we, as Catholics have, is that Jesus will be with us to the end of time.

He is the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through him.

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