2nd Week of Advent
1st Reading: Sir 48:1-4, 9-11
In those days, like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace. Their staff of bread he shattered, in his zeal he reduced them to straits; By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens and three times brought down fire. How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Whose glory is equal to yours? You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses. You were destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord, To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob. Blessed is he who shall have seen you and who falls asleep in your friendship.
Gospel: Mt 17:9a, 10-13
As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
RECOGNIZING GOD IN OTHERS: A devout Christian had been praying every day to have a vision of Christ. One day Christ appeared to him in a vision, and said that he would visit him the next day. The Christian made all preparations to receive Christ. The next day, the Christian heard a knock at the door. The Christian opened the door, only to find a poor beggar asking for alms. The Christian sent the beggar away, saying that there was an important visitor expected. Christ never showed up. The Christian went to pray, asking Christ: “Why did you not come as you promised?” Christ answered; “I came to your house and you sent me away.” God sent his prophets even His Son Jesus but many did not recognize or accept them. We who follow Jesus, must recognize Jesus who manifests himself in different ways in our lives and especially in those who are needy.
Prayer: Lord, do not let me be separated from you.
RE-ORDERING THE WORLD: The disciples are reminded of the teachings of the Scribes that Elijah should come to create a new world order. The first reading presents Elijah as a hero who had the supernatural power to transform the world. Jesus indirectly indicates that John the Baptist had come with the power and spirit of Elijah. But people did not recognize him and in the end, killed him. Jesus indicates that they would do the same to him also. The world needs re-ordering today; it needs Elijah and Jesus, as people for this mission. The rich are becoming richer, the cries of the poor and of the planet are not listened to. Human and environmental right defenders are persecuted and killed. The world needs people who would re-order it at the cost of their life. Are we ready to join the mission of reconstructing the world?
PRAYER: Lord make me an instrument of social transformation today.
TRUE MESSIAH: Here is an effort from Jesus to help his hearers unlearn a long ingrained belief: A mighty reformer who will sweep through the earth, in whirlwind speed and make the world ready for the Messiah to come on stage. But they failed or rather refused to accept that this herald is not one who attempts a cleansing with an avenging fire. But Jesus came with a positive approach; He tried to win them with His gentle love. His healing touch, His forgiving care, His merciful presence was the medium with which He came across to them. Finally, He said, “I came not to be served but to serve”. So it is not a conquering, imposing messiah that was to be announced. Jesus wants them to imbibe the message of this Messiah who lays down his life for His people in the fashion of an honest committed shepherd. May we hold him aloft and may we take him to heart. If only the image and message of this Messiah has sunk deep in us, can we take him to people.