The WORD in Other Words by Fr Rodrigo Salac SVD (Philippines) for Saturday Week 2 in Advent
WANTED: WITNESSES TO JESUS! They must be strong and uncompromising like the Prophet Elijah of the Old Testament or John the Baptist of the New Testament. For those who think they are qualified, you can start ASAP right in your family. Reward: Eternal Bliss in Heaven.
During the reign of King Ahab, Israel was at its worst. His wife Jezebel influenced him to worship Baal and persecute many prophets of Yahweh. The prophets of Baal were his advisers. It was during this time that Elijah prophesied powerfully to bring back Israel to Yahweh.
Sirach in the first reading today said that Elijah‘s tasks were: 1) to show the people the proper time to cool down the anger of God, 2) to reconcile parents with their children and, 3) to restore the tribes of Israel. Elijah was the prophet who reintroduced Yahweh to Israel. He did not die.
John the Baptist was the prophet who announced the coming of Jesus Christ. He was powerful in words and uncompromising in act. The people of Israel recognized him as a prophet. Jesus in the Gospel today said Elijah, indeed, had come back in the person of John the Baptist but the people did not pay attention to him. Herod the Tetrarch ordered his beheading.
We are today‘s heralds of Jesus. Our task is to reintroduce Jesus to people who are lost in the maze of worldly fortunes, electronic deserts, concrete jungles, toxic addiction to corruption, child abuse, oppression of women, disrespect of elders, cultural ruthlessness, religious laxity, etc… Our work is to witness to Jesus in our life. Living Jesus is louder than shouting His name. Our visual aid is St. John of the Cross.