Preparing for His Coming


Matthew 17: 9a,10-13
Psalm 80

In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.
(Matthew 17:12)

Make straight our ways, repent from sins!
Else how can we recognize Him?
He has come “to restore all things,”
Our Lord and Savior, King of kings.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” The disciples then asked Him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah will come and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He was talking to them about John the Baptist. (Matthew 17: 9-13)

Reflection

Jesus had just been transfigured, and while coming down from the mountain with His apostles, they asked Him: “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him… He was St. John the Baptist.

St. John the Baptist was the last herald of God before His Word finally became flesh. Elijah was the first of the great prophets of the Old Testament who singlehandedly faced 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah in Mt. Carmel to show the people of Israel their folly in following these false gods of King Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings, 18:19-40). Elijah was taken up alive by a flaming chariot into heaven (2 Kings 2:11). The Jews believed that he would return to herald the coming of the Messiah.

Elijah had indeed returned—in the person of St. John. Have you noticed that he has been playing an important role in every season of Advent? That’s because he was commissioned by God since conception to prepare the people for their redemption. Once again he cries: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!” When our Lord said, “So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands,” He also meant whenever we fall into grievous sin. Let us not forget that He had already done everything that any man or God could give to redeem us. Sin is really a great insult to God because the sinner takes for granted Christ’s great sacrifice and death and his boundless love.

Repentance cleans us of our sins and makes us whole again so that we can recognize the importance of Advent in our lives. Our God is a God of compassion, and forgives us for not having prepared ourselves well to “recognize Him” in the faces of hungry and needy people. We were too preoccupied with decorating our Christmas tree, hanging yuletide decors in the house, and going to the malls for the gifts of our numerous godchildren.

Lord God, as we prepare ourselves for the coming of Your Beloved Son, remind us to be more charitable, especially to the poor in our midst. Grant us also the grace to prepare our commitments for the coming new year, when we start making our so- called “New Year’s Resolutions”. May we be faithful to all our pledges. Amen.

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