Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11, December 11, 2021

Reading:

In those days,
like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Their staff of bread he shattered,
in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
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 re-establish the tribes of Jacob.
Blessed is he who shall have seen you
and who falls asleep in your friendship.

Reflection:  

Considered a remarkable Old Testament prophet, Elijah, like other prophets from the Hebrew Scriptures, was called to prepare the world for the coming of the Messiah, who would be Jesus Christ.  What Advent prepares us for, is not the birth of Jesus, that happened 2,000 years ago, but the Second Coming of Christ.  Christians spend a few weeks each Advent preparing, but God devoted centuries to his preparations.  Throughout salvation history, God prudently and astutely employed prophets to make ready the way of the Lord, to prepare the people for the birth of the Messiah. Compared with the centuries God used, the four weeks in Advent pale in comparison.  As Christians we are invited to intensely spiritually prepare for Christmas.  Many spiritually prepare during Lent, but Advent is sometimes considered an afterthought.  Quiet contemplative prayer, reading sacred scripture, giving alms to the poor and underprivileged or helping someone in need; are just some simple ways to prepare yourself for the Second Coming of Christ during the Season of Advent.