Saturday - 2nd Week of Advent
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
let us never become indifferent
to the ardent message
which your Son speaks to us in the gospel
When we have become inattentive and uninvolved,
send us again prophets to wake us up
and to make us attentive again
to make your kingdom among us a reality
of love of you and of people,
of justice and serving love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 17, 10-13
And the disciples put this question to him, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?'
He replied, 'Elijah is indeed coming, and he will set everything right again;
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.'
Then the disciples understood that he was speaking of John the Baptist.
• The disciples have just seen Moses and Elijah before Jesus in the Transfiguration on the mountain (Mt 17, 3). In general, people believed that Elijah had to return to prepare the coming of the Kingdom. Prophet Malachi said: “Look, I shall send you the prophet Elijah before the great and awesome Day of Yahweh comes. He will reconcile parents to their children and children to their parents, to forestall my putting the country under the curse of destruction!” (Mal 3, 23-24; cf. Eccl. 48, 10). The disciples want to know: What does the teaching of the Doctors of the Law mean, when they say that Elijah has to come before?” Because Jesus, the Messiah, was already there, had already arrived, and Elijah had not come as yet. Which is the value of this teaching of the return of Elijah?
• Jesus answers: “Elijah has already come and they have not recognized him; rather, they have treated him as they have wanted. In the same way, they will also make the Son of Man suffer”. Then the Disciples understood that Jesus was speaking of John the Baptist.
• In that situation of Roman domination which disintegrated the clan and the familiar living together, people expected that Elijah would return to reconstruct the community: to reconcile the parents to their children and the children to their parents. This was the great hope of the people. Today also, the neo-liberal system of communism disintegrates the families and promotes the masses which destroy life.
• To reconstruct and remake the social fabric and the community living of the families is dangerous because it undermines the basis of the system of domination. This is why John the Baptist was killed. He had a project to reform human living together (cf. Lk 3, 7-14). He carried out the mission of Elijah (Lk 1, 17). This is why he was killed.
• Jesus continues the same mission of John: to reconstruct the life in community. Because God is Father, we are all brothers and sisters. Jesus joins together two loves: love toward God and love toward neighbour and makes them visible in the form of living together. This is why, like John, he was put to death. This is why Jesus, the Son of Man, will be condemned to death.
4) Personal questions
• Placing myself in the position of the disciples: does the ideology of consumerism have power over me?
• Placing myself in the position of Jesus: Do I have the force to react and to create a new human way of living together?
5) Concluding Prayer
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name. (Ps 80)