“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored?” (Matthew 5:13)
In yesterday’s Gospel passage, Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In this analogy, Jesus not only highlights our importance to the world but also indicates why we are few in number. Like Elijah who stood as one man against four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, devoted Christians today must learn to stand almost alone against a world that swims in darkness and evil.
Why does it happen that there are only a few persons who prefer light to darkness? Why is Elijah standing alone? To think that this contest took place in Israel, the very land of God’s chosen people is shocking. Humans are social animals; we are conditioned to go with the flow, and we do what everyone else is doing. Whatever is popular is okay by us. We are too scared to be different.
This is why Jesus himself would say: “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14) Again that “the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” (Luke 10:12, Matthew 9:37) Again, “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14). The question is: “Wouldn’t you rather be one of the few?” Like Elijah, do you have the courage to be the last man standing?
What does it take to be an Elijah today? Jesus answers this question in today’s Gospel passage; simply put, NO COMPROMISE. There are many Christians who begin very well, they are so devoted to God and aspire for heaven but as time goes on, they begin to bend little by little. You hear things like, “After all, God understands, it is not that bad; it is just a little lie.” A little this, a little that, and like water dripping from a leaking bucket, we soon become dry and begin to align with the world.
As Jesus puts it: “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19).
Let us pray: Lord God, bless me with the courage of Elijah; to remain with you even if I am the only one left standing. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Kings 18:20-39, Ps. 16:1-2,4-5,8,11, Matthew 5:17-19)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu