First Reading: Sir 48:1-4. 9-11b; Psalm: 80. R. v. 4; Gospel: Mt 17:10-13
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
According to the prophet Malachi, Elijah the great prophet would return to prepare the way before the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 3:1 and 4:5). This was to be a sign to the people that the day of the Lord was very close. Elijah was a great prophet in Israel. His appearance on the mountain of transfiguration prompted the three disciples to ask Jesus why it was believed that Elijah would come first before the Messiah.
Jesus confirmed that Elijah was to come before him to restore all things in preparation for his coming. And that John the Baptist was this expected Elijah. The prophetic and fearless preaching of John against sin and immorality was typical of the prophetic tradition of Elijah. God descended by fire when Elijah called on him during the contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1Kgs 18:19-39). God would again descend from above in the form of a dove at Jesus’ baptism by the hands of John to show his defeat over sin (Mt 3:16). John therefore was the expected Elijah. But the scribes did not recognise this because they were blind and never listened to Jesus. And just as they scornfully derided John, so would they do to Jesus.
In the spiritual realm, things don’t always appear as we think they should. And this is why we should learn to see and listen differently. The people could not see the expected Elijah in John because of their ordinary perception of the things of God. If we don’t listening to Jesus, we will miss out on God’s plan for us. So, when God speaks to us through the Word and Sacrament, we should listen to him and not let what we feel or think hinder his message.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, open our hearts to always listen to you. Amen.