The reading from Sirach is timely. It extolls the life of Elijah. It was written in a period of challenge and questioning as Judaism prepared to enter a new phase. The embracing of prophets in this text mirrors a similar sense in the Gospel. These passages were not written in easy times. We read of the longing for continuity in the traditions. We see the traditions enduring but like gold being purified they are tested by fire on multiple occasions.
Experiencing the Advent season is not easy in our world today. There are the contemporary prophets who enlighten a path. There are also the prophet want-to-bes. We live in a world of cable television and blogs. It seems like everybody wants to be heard. I see a great deal of loud talking, very little listening and almost no reflection. Discerning the right path is far from easy. The current financial times do not make this easier. My sense is that there are more people who are stressed and depressed than I have seen in recent memory. People are unsure about the future. The university graduates are going out into a world where the competition is fierce.
Advent is a time of recognizing our past and anticipating the glory that is to come. It is much easier to relax and reflect when the economy is healthier. This is a time when we are tested by fire. In being brought down, we often learn what we should be placing as our foundation. It is not always easy to remain faithful in times of difficulty. Our traditions have survived much greater challenges. We are reminded that God’s power is behind the true prophets.
My prayer today is for the renewed desire that Advent should bring. I pray that rather than focusing on the long, cold, dark winter that is ahead, we find ourselves drawn in by the anticipation of the great gift that our Heavenly Father shares with us.
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