Wednesday 18 November 2015

2nd Saturday of Advent 2e samedi de l’Avent

“However, I tell you, Elijah has already come and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased.”

Ben Sirach 48,1-4,9-11 Ps.79 Mt17,10-13

Saturday of 2nd Week of Advent

“The disciples put this question to Jesus: ’ Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? ’He replied, ’Elijah is indeed coming, and he will set everything right again.’”

As they come down from the mountain where they had witnessed the Transfiguration, Jesus discusses with his disciples who are quite disconcerted : they do not understand that the Messiah had come before the prophet Elijah, who should have prepared everything. The preparation has already taken place : ’ I declare : Elijah has already come.’ John the Baptist, by his sermons of fire and his fasting in the desert, worked at bringing the heart of sons towards their fathers, but they didn’t recognise John the Baptist. These fathers ere men who showed fidelity towards the Lord God of Israel. John manifested himself in an eminent way as the precursor of the Judge who ought to go before him. He was a fore sign of the One who would lower himself, He whom he announced as the Messiah and whose path he was preparing even as far as the mystery of his death. By his whole life, John prophesised the Suffering Son of man who was going to die by freely giving his life in order to bring back the Father to the heart of his children, scattered because of sin.

Jesus will announce his Passion three times : ’The Son of man must suffer very much.’ The Coming of Jesus in the world provokes contestation in mankind. Paul will speak about ’the mystery of iniquity’ that is rampant in the world.

The suffering of God is ’suffering and compassion’, says Saint Bernard.

John the Baptist will announce Jesus even unto his death : ’They treated him as they pleased.’ This awful phrase can be applied to all those who undergo violence! Still today in the world, there are so many people who are victims of huge violence : ’They did treated them as they pleased.’

“However I tell you, Elijah has already come and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased ; and the Son of man will suffer similarly at their hands.”

It is important to have a new way of seeing things, in order to recognise the ways of God and to respond with generosity and happiness to the demanding call of those who are sent forth. Not everyone is inclined to understand, and even less so to live it out. Even more, our lives and plans can contrary the will of the Lord, and this opposition can go as far as a struggle against our Heavenly Father.We can go as far as rejecting Him.

Jesus invites his disciples to follow him in a heart to heart with Him right to that place where we are most exposed to ordeals, and even suffering. This heart to heart can even be prolonged as far as his death. John the Baptist had the experience of this intimacy with Jesus, prophesizing by his martyrdom. This choice of ’descent’ was done to save humanity. We are invited to walk deliberately in the footsteps of Christ, who already takes hold of us as we go down on this path of descent. In the small child of the Crib who lies resting in the arms of his mother Mary, we want to become very close to God, wanting to lower ourselves. We can be afraid of being humiliated with Jesus on the way of the Cross, but how could we display any resistance when it is a question of kneeling before a tiny infant! We can perceive that intimacy with our Lord Jesus Christ is never so deep than when we share our sufferings with Him.

“They treated him as they pleased!”

We need to discover the intense Love that guides God’s designs for us and if we are consequent about our faith that Jesus reveals to us, then ill-treatment, defamations and persecutions won’t come as a surprise to us. To be on the right road won’t spare us from hardships of our existence and He invites us to go before Him despite suffering .

Let us ask Mary, Queen of Apostles, to intercede for us so that no one may lack friends , especially those who like the Prophets, announce the Good News of Salvation that the Birth of Jesus brings us.

For you and for me, it falls upon us that we are called to live this Christmas feast in a more Christian manner, so that people we encounter on our way may be touched. Peter, James and John were witnesses of the Transfiguration so they could bear the disfiguration of the One sent from God and so the could have absolute faith in them.

Humanity, represented by Mary and John at the Cross, will offer to God ’the beloved child of the Father’, the Son of all his Love. Humanity is loved by God, we want to enter into this new Love with Jesus who showed solidarity to

suffering humanity. Only the Infinite Mercy of God can ’put up with’ Jesus’ suffering in human flesh! In Jesus’ new commandment of Love, witnessing the ardour of the prophet Elijah, we have to burn with the fire of the Love of the Holy Spirit whenever comes an incessant wave of suffering.

We ask for the grace to enter into the Infinite Love of God.