Saturday, 16 December 2017 : 2nd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the discourses from the Sacred Scriptures speaking to us about two great persona in the Old and New Testament, whom through the revelation of Our Lord Jesus Himself, revealed the link between them. In the first reading, we heard about the prophet Elijah from the prophet Isaiah, who wrote about the wondrous miracles he performed, as well as the miraculous circumstances surrounding the moment when Elijah was taken up into heaven by flaming chariots, as one of the greatest of God’s prophets.

And then, in the Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus spoke about the prophet Elijah, who according to the prophecies of the prophets, would come again, because he did not suffer death but lifted up into heaven by the will of God. And He explained indirectly that the prophet Elijah had indeed come again into the world, but many of the people did not believe in Him, and His disciples deduced that Jesus was referring to St. John the Baptist, who was the Herald of the Messiah.

Whether St. John the Baptist was truly Elijah in person who came down from heaven, was not really known to us, and in one occasion in the Gospel, when the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked St. John the Baptist, whether he was the prophet Elijah, he denied that he was the prophet. However, whatever God has done, is a mystery of our faith, and through the revelations that Our Lord Himself has revealed, our faith indeed has become richer and more meaningful.

For both the prophet Elijah and St. John the Baptist were truly faithful and devoted servants of God with many parallels to their stories. They had to contend with powerful rulers and kings, as the prophet Elijah had to deal with the wicked kings of Israel, particularly the king Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel, who led the people into sin of idolatry and pagan worship, while St. John the Baptist had to contend with king Herod Antipas who unlawfully married Herodias, his brother’s wife, as well as with the influential Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

And the prophet Elijah had to flee from the wrath of the king for his works and wander in the desert, for many days, weeks and months, surviving in the wilderness, much like St. John the Baptist who lived in the same wilderness, while working the good works of the Lord, preparing the way for the Lord’s coming. Despite all the challenges and difficulties that these two faithful servants of God faced, they remained true and faithful to the missions to which they have been called to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on the lives and contributions that both the prophet Elijah and St. John the Baptist had done in their lives, let us be inspired by their zeal and commitment, in serving God and obeying His will, despite the challenges and difficulties which they had to face day after day, facing rejection and ridicule even from those who are close to them, much like Our Lord Himself.

As faithful Christians, all of us should walk the same path that Christ Himself had walked, the path of the cross, and the great sufferings associated with that cross. Did Christ not say that those who follow Him ought to take up their crosses and follow Him? If we are to be true Christians, then we must be prepared to face the difficulties and challenges which may come our way as we live our lives according to our Christian faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all prepare ourselves thoroughly for the celebrations of Christmas, that we may celebrate it worthily with true joy, rejoicing at the anniversary of the Lord’s arrival into this world. Let us devote our effort, time and attention, to serve the Lord with ever more commitment and faith. May the Lord strengthen our faith, and may He bless us all with His guidance and help, that we may continue to persevere in faith. Amen.

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