HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF ADVENT.
THEME: Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him.
BY: Fr. Diotacious Chikontwe SMA.
*READINGS OF THE DAY*
There was a Jewish tradition in the time of Jesus that the day of the Lord’s coming would be preceded by the coming of a messenger who would prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. According to the prophet Malachi, the last book of the Hebrew Bible, that messenger would be the prophet Elijah who would come from heaven to where he had ascended many centuries before. That is the tradition Jesus’ disciples give expression to in their question to Jesus at the beginning of today’s gospel reading, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’ This question reflects an objection to Jesus by the Jewish scribes, ‘if Jesus is God’s anointed one, why has he not been preceded by Elijah, as the Scriptures say he will be?
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*ABOUT THE Gospel OF THE DAY*
Today’s gospel reading from Matthew follows on immediately after the story of the transfiguration of Jesus, in which the disciples saw Moses and Elijah speaking with the transfigured Jesus on the mountain. As they come down the mountain, the disciples ask Jesus a question about Elijah, whom they have just seen with Jesus. According to the Jewish Scriptures, Elijah was to return to prepare the way for the Messiah. If Jesus is the Messiah, where is Elijah, they wonder?
Jesus replies by saying that Elijah has come; he is none other than John the Baptist, but people have not recognized John as the messenger of God, the Elijah figure sent before the Lord’s anointed one. Jesus draws attention to the human failure to recognize the messengers God sends. We live in the period after the death and resurrection of Jesus and the risen Lord is constantly sending us his messengers. We too can fail to recognize them. Advent is a time when we are invited to become more attuned to the various ways that the Lord comes to us. Very often he comes to us in ways that forces us to rethink who we are and where we stand. We can be tempted to reject the Lord’s messenger as John the Baptist was rejected by many of his contemporaries. Our resistance can sometimes be a sign that the Lord is trying to break through to us in some new way.
May God bless us always in our every endeavours and good efforts, now and forevermore. Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Loreto, pray for us sinners. Amen.
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