1 Kings 18:41-46 / Matthew 5:20-26
The present weather in Singapore can be rather uncomfortable. It can be so hot and humid, and the little rain that comes along does not cool things down much.
But no matter what we say about the weather, we in Singapore have not experienced drought, not even severe drought.
We have not gone for months, or even years without any rain at all. But some of us may remember that in the past when there was a prolonged dry spell, and the water level in our reservoirs was at an alarming low, there was water-rationing.
So we can imagine what it was like to have a drought for three and a half years, without a drop of rain!
That was the situation in the 1st reading. The land of Israel was experiencing drought for three and a half years already and there was also the consequent famine.
But king Ahab was not that bothered by it at all. In his mind, the drought would end, the rains will come, and the famine will be resolved.
So we may understand why the prophet Elijah told Ahab, "Go back, eat and drink". It was more like a scornful remark about his indifference about the sufferings of his people and his selfish concern.
King Ahab was a figure of a hardness of heart and he had grown coarse from constantly rejecting the Lord.
He had seen the fire from heaven which consumed Elijah's sacrifice, he had seen the 450 prophets of the idol Baal slain by Elijah, his people were suffering from drought and famine.
But he still didn't even bother to turn to the Lord for help. Instead it was Elijah who did the praying.
We may not have the hardness and coarseness of heart like king Ahab, but Jesus warns us that if our virtues go no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees in the gospel, then we may know what it truly means to be a disciple.
And if our virtues go no deeper than those who are not Christians, then it may also mean that the teachings of Jesus have not soften our hearts, and our souls are like a land dry and weary from drought and famine.
Jesus wants to shower His blessings on us and soften our hearts with His love so that our hearts will bear fruits of forgiveness and reconciliation.