December 15, 2018

Dec. 15

December 15, 2018:  Saturday, 2nd week, Advent


For Psalm 80
  • Sir 48:1-4, 9-11  Elijah appeared, shattered their staff, brought down fire, will end wrath, turn fathers' hearts, was taken up.
  • Ps 80:2ac, 3b, 15-16, 18-19  "Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved."  O shepherd, shine forth, rouse your power, care for this vine, help the man of your right hand.  Give us life, and we'll call on you.
  • Mt 17:9a, 10-13  “Elijah will indeed come restore all things; he's already come, but they didn't recognize him or act accordingly.  The Son will suffer at their hands.”  They understood he was speaking about John the Baptist.
  • Creighton:  The 1st reading's fire-famine-fury readings remind us that the biblical vision of Advent differs from pop Christmas culture.  Advent is about expectation and fulfillment. Jesus came first as the fulfillment of Israel’s messianic expectations. The Transfiguration narrative, the prophecy that Elijah will return, and the figure of John the Baptist as the new Elijah, embody this theme.  Today’s readings also remind us of the idolatry of God’s people and our tendency to reject his prophets. We and our world resist the conversion called for by Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus. How should I prepare for the Lord's coming, and how I can turn my heart to my children?
  • One Bread, One Body:  "First come, first serve":   Before the Messiah comes, Elijah must come and restore everything. Before Christmas, people like Elijah and John must come into our lives:  we need to hear prophetic words and be immersed in the baptism of repentance.  We need the sword of God's Word to penetrate our hearts and judge us, we risk missing Christ amid Christmas distractions.  Think Advent, not Christmas.  Prepare the Lord's way:  seek prophecy, repentance, restoration, and reconciliation. Holy Advent, blessed Christmas.
  • Passionist:  We think many things are not what they are because our sight is limited.  Once we discover more, we can stretch our understanding, let old views die, and adapt.  God can't be explained in human terms, but the Bible gives us images of God predicated on the writers’ “sight” when they wrote.  We need to be open to the new views God shows us and not cling to ideas of God based on centuries-old perceptions. God is mystery; we'll never have the whole picture, but we know the Incarnation. We see a God of love, inclusion, compassion, creativity, forgiveness, and faithfulness, but many in Jesus' day refused to break out of their traditional images of God and "killed the Messenger."  Jesus kept correcting his disciples' interpretations up to his dying breath. If Jesus were on the earth now, wouldn't he still correct us, teaching us to put to death views of a God whose love we have to earn, to work for a better world for everyone, to know God created, knows, and loves each person, and that we embody the mystery of God so all may better see and understand.  May we not block the sight of others looking for God. What image of God do I convey in my words, facial expressions, attitudes, and actions?  Do others see judgment or narrow-mindedness in me, or acceptance, love, forgiveness, and a glimpse of God? What do I need to let die in myself to give birth to Christ?
  •  "Elijah must first come":  God gives signs to show what he'll do.  John the Baptist is one, pointing to and Jesus and preparing the way.  John is the last and greatest prophet of the old kingdom.  The Jews expected that when the Messiah would come, Elijah would appear.  John fills Elijah's role and prepares the way for the coming of Christ by preaching a baptism of repentance.  As servants, we too must prepare by turning from sin and whatever would keep us from pursuing his will....
Dress legend
  • 'Fire' pin:  Elijah appeared like a fire, brought down fire, was taken in whirlwind of fire; his words were as a flaming furnace (1st reading)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  Elijah shattered their staff of bread... (1st reading)
  • 'Chariot' and 'horse' tie pins:  ...and was taken up in a chariot with fiery horses. (1st reading)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  He'll turn fathers' hearts to their sons (1st reading)
  • Tie with 'grapes':  Take care of this vine... (psalm)
  • 'Hands' pin:  ... and protect what your right hand has planted; may your help be with the man of your right hand (psalm); The Son will suffer at the scribes' hands (gospel)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  Give us new life, and we'll 'call' on you (psalm)
  • 'Alps' tie pin:  The disciples were coming down from the mountain (gospel)
  • '?' tie pin:  "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" (gospel)
  • Purple shirt:  Advent season...

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