DEC. 12. ADVENT. WK. 2. SAT. (B) MATT. 17. 10-13.
As they came down from the mountain the disciples put this question to Jesus, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True;’ he replied, ‘Elijah is to come to see that everything is once more as it should be, however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.’ The disciples understood then that he had been speaking of John the Baptist.
Christ is dealing with a common problem here, namely a failing to understand scripture! It is interesting to note how we often go to the Bible looking for clear advice on how to deal with an issue, and we expect an answer!
Christ’s disciples saw Elijah’s role as having been concluded in the much earlier days before Christ, but Christ was making use of the Old Testament prophesy and applying it to the New Testament in an unexpected way!
He applied it to John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament Prophets, and in doing so showed us that the Old and New Testament need to be seen as a unified guide fo the living of the Christian vocation!
The truth of this message is easily seen when we look the Psalms, which is still used today by consecrated religious to sing the praises of God, with their content being applied to today’s world and today’s issues, with Psalm One being an excellent example!
The disciples were fortunate to have Christ with them to give them a “new understanding” of scripture, but this guidance is also available to us in the twenty-first century; - via the Holy Spirit, Prayer and Sacrament!
It is a grave error for a Christian today to see himself as “all alone” as that is simply not true; - and it is important we remain aware of this truth!
This is why the reading of scripture, the seeking of truth, and the seeking of God’s Will must never be separated from Prayer and “the voice of The Holy Spirit!”
In this reading Christ is teaching his disciples that the voice of God had come among them via John the Baptist but “they did not recognise him”; - a lesson that can be applied to us also if we do not remain ever conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us!
The “Spiritual Life” cannot be lived if we do not remain both vigilant and aware of the voice of The Holy Spirit” in our lives!
But for this to happen, for us to be ever conscious, and ever listening to the Holy Spirit, we need to be attentive to the many teachings of Christ that were designed to make us “battle ready” to live in the world!
Prayer, Eucharist, Devotion to Mary, The Sacraments, the reading of Scripture, Mortification, Meekness and Humility; - to name a few; - but sadly many of these teachings are seen as “unimportant” due to the ever-present influence of “the world, the flesh and the devil!”