Days of Elijah

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church

December 14, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, we think about John the Baptist. For several days in this middle part of Advent, our Gospel makes reference to John, the Precursor of the Messiah.

411px-Saint_John_The_Baptist_Preaching_In_The_Wilderness_by_Anton_Raphael
John the Baptist by Anton Raphael Mengs – looking a lot better than he probably really looked!!!!

Faithful Jews had an expectation that there would be a Messiah, and that a fiery Precursor would announce him. They identified this forerunner with the prophet Elijah, based on writings like today’s from Sirach:

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…

800px-Elijah,_a_prophet_and_a_miracle_worker
Elijah, a prophet and a miracle worker, Gračanica monastery

 

In our Gospel, Jesus indicates that John the Baptist is the new Elijah, preparing the way for Jesus’s ministry.

Scripture scholars can get pretty bundled up in trying to explicate the meanings around Elijah and his return. For the purpose of our prayer, I find it helpful to take another approach.

  • What is it in my life that prepares me to receive God in my heart?
  • What inspires me “prepare the way of the Lord” in the worlds that I touch?
  • Do I pay attention to God’s “announcements”, those quiet inklings that tell me God is trying to make something new in my life?

Jesus says that Elijah “has already come” but has been rejected by the people.

  • Are there habits and choices in my life that make it hard for God to get through to me?
  • Maybe God is sending an “Elijah”or “Baptist” my way today. Will I recognize that Precursor? Will I be open to the message?

Music: Days of Elijah – Robin Mark. 

The commentary in the Worship & Song Leader’s Edition contains a good summary of this hymn’s text: “This is a song of victory and of hope, of God’s triumph forever over death and of Christ’s eternal reign. It also calls believers to stand fast, even in the face of troubles, and to witness to the promised coming of Christ.”

 

4 thoughts on “Days of Elijah

  1. You have expressed a difficult message with such profound simplicity. Very well done. renee.
    Here’s a video that may bless your heart.
    Please view, share and subscribe to encourage Sophie my wife who has laboured to create this to bless someone in need of a Word from the Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The video is prepared by my beautiful wife, Sophie. Can I request you to encourage her by sharing your comment on her YouTube video? if it’s not asking for too much.

        Like

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