Saint Barnabas, apostle (Memorial; see below)
Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of rushing rain." So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; there he bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees. He said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." He went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing." Then he said, "Go again seven times." At the seventh time he said, "Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person's hand is rising out of the sea." Then he said, "Go say to Ahab, 'Harness your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'" In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind; there was a heavy rain. Ahab rode off and went to Jezreel. But the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; he girded up his loins and ran in front of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God's watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain. (R./)
Thus have you prepared the land:
drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield. (R./)
You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills. (R./)
Jesus said to them,
"I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
"You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny."
The language Jesus uses has a sharp edge to it and is strange to our ears, 'If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.' He is using inhyperbole to get our attention; clearly not meaning to be taken literally. He goes deeper than what the Ten Commandments prohibit to the roots of those actions in the human heart. This is the deeper virtue proposed a few verses earlier. He calls for not just a change of behaviour but a change of heart, a purifying of desire and intention.
Elsewhere in the Scriptures we have instances of God responding to earnest prayer on behalf of others. When his people were starving after a prolonged period of drought, Elijah went up Mount Carmel (the mountain of God) to pray for rain. He put his head between his knees in earnest prayer until he heart that on the horizon a little cloud no bigger than a person's hand was rising out of the sea. This told him that finally the end of the deadly drought was coming. Sometimes we need the equivalent of our own mountain-top as a place to seek God in silence. When we open ourselves to the Lord's Spirit within us we will be shown the way forward.