The prophet Elijah arose like a fire,
his word flaring like a torch.
It was he who brought famine on the people,
and who decimated them in his zeal.
By the word of the Lord, he shut up the heavens,
he also, three times, brought down fire.
How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah!
Has anyone reason to boast as you have?
Taken up in the whirlwind of fire,
in a chariot with fiery horses;
designated in the prophecies of doom
to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks,
to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children,
and to restore the tribes of Jacob,
Happy shall they be who see you,
and those who have fallen asleep in love.
As they came down from the mountain the disciples put this question to Jesus, ‘Why do the scribes say then that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True;’ he replied ‘Elijah is to come to see that everything is once more as it should be; however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.’ The disciples understood then that he had been speaking of John the Baptist.
“I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.”
As we close this second week of Advent, the readings speak about Elijah, to recognise that Elijah has already come. It doesn’t directly speak about the coming of the Messiah, our Christ but if we can recognise Elijah, we know Christ is near, if not already present in our midst.
Are we able to recognise the Elijahs in our lives? Are we able to recognise Christ in our lives? We are all called, in one way or another, to be Elijah in our lives, as in the example of John the Baptist, a voice that cries out in the wilderness, to prepare a way for the Lord, to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
Let us not simply wait till we are on our deathbeds or at our wits end before we return to Christ. The coming of Christ is the coming of the joy, peace, hope, love of Christmas as well. It is something we should all look forward to rather than just a festive celebration. We celebrate Christmas every year but have we been able to celebrate the birth of Christ once again in our lives and in our hearts?
Many today are able to share or preach but how many of us actually believe what we ourselves are saying and practice what we preach? Our faith isn’t one that takes away the joys and traps us in boring traditional routines, but one that allows God to communicate Himself to us constantly, whether at mass or through the different celebrations.
This Christmas, let us prepare ourselves and, in turn, be an example, like Elijah, for when others see us, they too know that the Christ is coming, our Saviour, our King.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for courage. To not be tempted and distracted by worldly things, but to keep our focus on you. For it is you who gives the eternal joy, peace, love and hope. We pray that this Christmas, we will make a gift of ourselves, not just to others but also to you. To recognise Christ in others and to be Christ to all. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for speaking to us through your Word. Thank you for the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Thank you for your mercy and love.