From a Creighton Student's Perspective
December 11, 2010
Junior, Theology Major
With only two more weeks before Christmas is here, there is always a great sense of anticipation or excitement for Christ’s coming into our world. We know the joy, love, and hope that Christ provides, and we are eagerly waiting for Him to enter into our lives. I think the readings for today take note of this excitement and show that Christmas is truly the event for which we have been hoping and will fulfill our grandest expectations. To put it simply, I think the readings show that Christmas is everything we could possibly expect and even more.
In order to show that Christ’s coming is the fulfillment of our hopeful expectation, the readings make mention of the prophet Elijah several times. We can see that Elijah is a powerful prophet who can “put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord” (Sirach 48:10). I think Elijah is featured in today’s readings because the people of Israel believed he would be the one to prepare the way and usher in their Messiah. Elijah was the one “to turn back the hearts of fathers towards their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob” (Sirach 48:10) in order to prepare Israel for their Savior. Therefore, by connecting John the Baptist with Elijah, today’s Gospel shows us that John is the one called to prepare the way for Jesus, who is the anticipated Savior of Israel and the world. Matthew wants us to realize that Jesus is not some sudden promise or unheralded king. Jesus is the one whom we have prayed and waited for, and His arrival has been prepared by all the prophets, including Elijah and John the Baptist.
Since we know that Jesus is our long-awaited King and Savior, we are called to prepare ourselves to greet and welcome Him at Christmas. The Responsorial Psalm beautifully proclaims our need to invite Christ when it says, “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:8). We know that Jesus is the perfect end of our hopeful desire; now, we must use this time to open ourselves to receive Him.
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