Today’s Gospel: Matthew 17:9A, 10-13
Today in mid-Advent we focus on the prophet Elijah. He had worked mighty deeds in Israel, and at the end of his life was taken up to heaven in a flaming chariot. The Jewish people thought that Elijah would return someday to restore Israel. That’s why in today’s Gospel the disciples ask Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus tells them that Elijah had already come, but people didn’t recognize him and “did to him whatever they pleased.” He was speaking of John the Baptist, whose role was to prepare the way of the Lord. John is a great Advent figure as we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. John preached repentance in a blunt, no-nonsense way. When people asked him what they should do, he told them to be honest, not to extort others, to be content with their pay. If they did what they were supposed to do, their hearts would be ready for the coming of the Lord.
In preparing the way for Christ, John suffered a martyr’s death, sealing his witness in his blood. Jesus says, “So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Christmas is a joyful feast because it reminds us about the reason why God became incarnate. Jesus would offer His life on the cross to save us from our sins. Some of the traditional Christmas carols mention this, for example, “Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, / The cross be borne for me, for you” (“What Child Is This?”) From the creche we look forward to the cross. When Elijah appeared with Moses at the Transfiguration, they spoke with Jesus about His coming passion. The mysterious figure of Elijah appears in Advent to remind us of how Jesus will win our salvation.
What does the figure of Elijah say to you about the meaning of Christmas?
Jesus, I thank You for coming among us to save us from our sins. Help me to live a life worthy of the Christian calling I have received.
Copyright 2017 Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP
Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP, is a Daughter of Saint Paul with wide experience in editing and writing. She is the author of Angels: Help from on High; Mary: Help in Hard Times; and books on saints for children. Her blog focuses on Marian topics and themes from St. Thomas Aquinas.
Receive CatholicMom.com newsletters in your inbox, including the Daily Gospel Reflection each morning!
* indicates required