The voice of Elijah has already come

Today, Fr Paul reads from Matthew’s Gospel (17:10-13) in which the disciples question Jesus about Elijah, which continues a theme that we have been hearing all this week.

We continue to hear about John the Baptist, Jesus, Wisdom and, like yesterday, about the people’s refusal to accept the messengers when they come.  This is all reinforced by today’s Gospel.

Fr Paul says, in the final verses of the final book of the Old Testament, in the Book of Malachi, is this: ‘Look I shall send you the prophet Elijah before the great and awesome day of the Lord’. As the Old Testament comes to a close, in the last few lines, those words appear. From that point, you see the Gospel writers picking up where the old testament left off.

As we’ve been hearing this week, a person will come and perform the function of Elijah to form that bridge from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  The person who performs that function of Elijah will announce the imminent arrival of the great day of the Lord.  As Jesus identifies in this Gospel that ‘Elijah’, that voice, has already come and it is the voice of John the Baptist. It was a voice that many people refused to recognise.

This Gospel identifies, again, that it is John the Baptist who was to come. It’s John the Baptist’s role to announce the coming of Jesus. It’s John the Baptist’s role to say that the great and awesome day of the Lord is coming.

And that, Fr Paul says, is what we are preparing ourselves in this Advent season.  We are preparing ourselves for that great and awesome day when our God will be born into our world.  We remember the words from scripture, ‘And you will call him Emmanuel, a name which means God with us’.

As our reflection today continues, Fr Paul asks, are we ready for that great and awesome event? Are we ready to welcome God?