A reading from the Book of Sirach (Sirach 48:1-4.9-11b)
Elijah will come again.
In those days: Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch. He brought a famine upon them, and by his zeal he made them few in number. By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, and also three times brought down fire. How glorious you were, O Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! And who has the right to boast which you have? You who were taken up by a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with horses of fire; you who are ready at the appointed time, it is written, to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob. Blessed are those who saw you, and those who have fallen asleep in your love.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM (Psalm 50:2ac and 3b.15- 16a. I 5-19 (R. 4)
R. O God, bring us back;
let your face shine on us, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
enthroned on the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse up your might and come to save us. R./
God of hosts, turn again, we implore;
look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted. R./
May your hand be on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have confirmed as your own.
And we shall never for sake you again;
give us life that we may call upon your name. R./
ALLELUIA Luke 3:4.6
Alleluia. Alleluia. Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight; all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew ( Matthew 17:10-13)
Elijah has already come and they did not know him.
As they were coming down the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He replied, “Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of man will suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
The Gospel of the Lord.
From the two readings of today we see the anxiety and nervousness that surround the waiting period for the Messiah. Doubts and suspicion fill the atmosphere. The lesson is that we should always wait in patience. At our own time, it is longer the first coming of the Messiah but the second coming that perturbs people. Many are nervous about his second coming. Let us wait with patience and prayer. At Christ’s first coming his father testifies to him at his baptism and at the Transfiguration. When the last day comes, all will know. Let us stop speculating and just watch and pray.
Lord, as Christmas approaches, we pray that our preparation will not be superficial, focusing only on what to eat and wear but principally on what we ought to be.