“You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses. You were destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to reestablish the tribes of Jacob.” (Sir 48:9-10)
The prophet Elijah is a towering figure in Judaism, celebrated not only for his powerful words and deeds, but integral to Israel’s enduring messianic hope. Scripture asserts that Elijah ascended to the heavens in a fiery chariot, and popular belief held that he would return in advance of the Messiah to prepare for his coming. In today’s gospel, Jesus refers to John the Baptist as Elijah; the sufferings John endured are a sign of all that the Son of Man himself will undergo.
The prayer of the Church at this point in Advent remains focused on the Lord’s second coming, when God’s redemptive plan will be fully realized. We live in the hope of that glorious day.
The hope in our hearts is deepened by our daily communion in the body and blood of Christ; he whom we receive sacramentally will return as Lord. The Eucharist memorializes Christ’s saving death and it also points to a future brightened by the promise of his second coming. Like Elijah, we are to prepare ourselves and the world to welcome him.
Where in the world today is hope most fragile? Pray for all affected by it.
Let us pray:
We implore your mercy, God; cleanse us of our faults and prepare us for the coming of our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)