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Liturgical day: Saturday 2nd of Advent

1st Reading (Sir 48:1-4.9-11): In those days, like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace. Their staff of bread he shattered, in his zeal he reduced them to straits; by the Lord's word he shut up the heavens and three times brought down fire. 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, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob. Blessed is he who shall have seen you and who falls asleep in your friendship.
Responsorial Psalm: 79
R/. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken, from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth. Rouse your power.

Once again, o Lord of hosts, look down from heaven, and see; take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted the son of man whom you yourself made strong.

May your help be with the man of your right hand, with the son of man whom you yourself made strong. Then we will no more withdraw from you; give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Lk 3:4.6): Alleluia. Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: All flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 17,10-13): As they were coming down the mountainside, the disciples then asked Jesus, «Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah must come first?». And Jesus answered, «So it is: first comes Elijah to set everything as it has to be. But I tell you, Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him, but treated him as they pleased. And they will also make the Son of Man suffer». Then the disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist.

«Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him, but treated him as they pleased»

Fr. Xavier SOBREVÍA i Vidal
(Castelldefels, Spain)

Today, we see Jesus talking with his disciples as they are coming down from the mountain, where they have just lived the Transfiguration. Our Lord hasn't taken up Peter's suggestion that they stay, and is answering the questions of the disciples as they descend. Those, who have just partaken momentarily in the glory of God, are surprised and don't understand how the Messiah could have come without the prophet Elijah coming first to prepare everything.

It turns out that the preparation has already been done. «But I tell you, Elijah has already come» (Mt 17:12). John the Baptist has prepared the way. But the men of the world don't recognize the men of God, nor do the prophets of the world recognize the prophets of God, nor do the arrogant of the world recognize the divinity of Jesus Christ.

A new way of looking and new heart are necessary if the ways of God are to be recognized, and if we are to respond with cheerfulness and generosity to the demanding calls of those He has sent. Not everybody is willing to understand it, let alone live it. What's more the way we live our lives and our plans might be in opposition to God's will. An opposition that could turn into a struggle against, and a rejection of, Our Father in Heaven.

We need to discover the intense love that informs God's plans for us and, if we are to be consistent with the faith and morality that Jesus reveals to us, we can't be surprised by the bad treatment, the slander and the persecutions. Being on the right track doesn't stop there being difficulties in life and He, despite the suffering, teaches us to keep on going.

We ask the Mother of Jesus, Queen of the Apostles, to intercede so that no one will be lacking a friend who, like the prophets, will bring them the Good News of salvation that is brought to us through the birth of Jesus Christ. We have the mission, you and me, to make sure that this Christmas be experienced in a more Christian way by those people who cross their path with ours.