Matthew 17: 9A, 10-13
This gospel passage from Matthew comes directly after Jesus’ Transfiguration in the presence of Peter, James, and John. During Jesus’ Transfiguration, God repeats His message from Jesus’ Baptism, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” and adding the phrase: “listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5). As the disciples walk down the mountain with Jesus, they ask Him why Elijah, a holy Old Testament prophet, has to come first, meaning before the Messiah. Jesus reveals that Elijah has already come, but the people have not listened to Him and have abused Him. Jesus predicts that He too will suffer.
The Elijah Jesus speaks of here is John the Baptist, who was brutally murdered on King Herod’s orders. Jesus’ revelation that He will suffer as John did must have been painful to the disciples, who have just had Jesus’ identity as Messiah revealed to them again. The disciples probably wanted to protect their Lord and friend, but Jesus’ mission would not allow Him to avoid sorrow and hurt. The astounding part of this passage is what the disciples still do not understand: they have just been told for the second time that Jesus is the Son of God, but they cannot put together that the events surrounding Him are the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Jesus has to prompt them in order for them to understand God’s plan. This Advent, especially as we begin the Year of Consecrated life, I hope that I am able to see God’s plan for my life and not be blind to it. I pray that we all are open to God’s message, even if it takes a little prompting in the right direction.