Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Reflection based on Matthew 11: 11-15

The Second Elijah

God does not work in the world only to satisfy our human desires. When fulfilling his promises, the Father always exceeds our everyday expectations. Indeed, his actions manifest the bounty of his providence. John the Baptist's appearance on the banks of the River Jordan affords no exception to this rule.

After the Babylonian Exile, the prophet Malachi announces God's promise to send Elijah back to Israel. His return to the chosen people would signal the prophesied day of the Lord (Mal 3: 23). Five hundred years later, God keeps his word by sending John the Baptist, a man in human history who surpasses Elijah. he who "among those born of women," Matthew tells us, "there has been none greater."

In sending John to Israel as the second Elijah, God fulfills his promise in abundance. What is better, John's mission accomplishes more than merely announcing the imminent day of the Lord. His life and activity forms his listeners to prepare themselves for the grace that the Lord brings. John's ascetical life indicates that sacrifice is neccessary to hear and welcome the Messiah, and his baptism, once elevated by Christ and confided to the apostles, supplies the Church with an entrance into the life of grace.

As promised, God provides for his people -- in abundance. Ahead of his only Son, he sends them -- and us -- John the Baptist.

Father Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P.

Heavenly Father, your providence for our salvation surpasses our every want and desire. Help us to become worthy recipients of your lavish care.


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