St. James said that “Elijah prayed and the sky gave rain.” (James 5:18) We see that story in today’s first reading from 1 Kings 18.
The Sermon on the Mount is probably the most challenging teaching ever. Jesus raises the bar on our thinking and our behavior to ridiculous levels. It really starts today with His teaching on anger and bearing grudges. Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.” Did you hear that? Jesus equates anger with killing!
Of course, anger is an emotion. We all get angry from time to time. How we act upon that anger is the issue at hand. Also, how long we let anger fester. Our natural inclination is to lash out when we are angry. We want to trade hurt for hurt. We do this because we lack the peace of Christ in our lives. Even if we don’t act out, we also have a tendency to hang on to our anger, sometimes for VERY long periods of time. Not only is this injurious to our health, it is injurious to our souls. If you’re struggling with anger, either from a fresh wound or an old one, ask God today to take that burden from you and replace it with Christ’s peace. I think you’ll find life to be a whole lot more pleasant.
Father, help us with our anger. Fill our hearts with Christ’s peace, that we may put anger aside and be people of peace. Amen.