Jesus’ Fulfillment of Law and Prophets – Jun 12 – Homily – Fr John Lawrence

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Fr John Lawrence gives the homily at Bloomington, IN, on Jun 12, 2024, on how Jesus fulfills the Law and Prophets, as exemplified by Elijah's victory over the Prophets of Baal, prefiguring baptism and the Eucharist through the Holy Spirit's transforming fire.

Jesus introduces many new teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, and yet these are in continuity with the Law and the Prophets. He says, do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill (Matthew 5:17 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/5?17).

The fulfillment of the Law is in continuity with the Law, but goes beyond it, setting aside ceremonial precepts that prefigure the grace and sacraments Jesus brings. As a sign of this continuity, during the Transfiguration, Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:3 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/17?3).

In 1 Kings, Elijah has a dramatic showdown with the Prophets of Baal. The drought has lasted three years, and it’s time to bring the Israelites back to the Lord. God told Elijah, go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth (1 Kings 18:1 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1kings/18?1).

Elijah meets Obadiah, who was hiding a hundred Prophets of the Lord in caves. Elijah sends him to ask Ahab for a meeting. Ahab accuses Elijah of causing the drought, but Elijah tells him the worship of Baal is to blame (1 Kings 18:18 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1kings/18?18). Elijah challenges Ahab to gather the people and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel for a showdown to prove who is the true God.

Elijah sets up an altar of twelve stones and drenches it with water. He prays to God, and fire comes down from heaven, consuming the sacrifice. The people proclaim, the Lord is God (1 Kings 18:38-39 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1kings/18?38).

St. Basil connects the water with baptism, noting that Elijah demonstrated the power of baptism when he used water instead of fire to consume the sacrifice (CCC 1228 - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/1228.htm).

The Catechism explains fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions (CCC 696 - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/696.htm). St. Ephraim connects the fire with the Eucharist, stating that fire came down and consumed the sacrifices of Elijah, and similarly, in the Eucharist, the fire of mercy becomes a living sacrifice (CCC 1106 - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/1106.htm).

Ave Maria!

Mass: Wednesday 10th Week of Ordinary Time - Wkdy
Readings:  - http://usccb.org/bible/readings/061224.cfm
1st: 1ki 18:20-39
Resp: psa 16:1-2, 4-5, 8, 11
Gsp: mat 5:17-19

More on the Readings: https://airmaria.com/r?m=1621

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