Advent Journal: Day 14

the preaching of john the baptist

Blessed is he who shall have seen you
and who falls asleep in your friendship.                 -Sirach 41:11

“I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.
So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
Then the disciples understood
that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.       -Matthew 17:10-13

Christ dwelt for nine months in the tabernacle of Mary’s womb. He dwells until the end of the ages in the tabernacle of the Church’s faith. He will dwell for ever in the knowledge and love of each faithful soul.                     -Blessed Abbot Isaac of Stella

The Forerunner goes before the Savior, proclaiming his coming; Advent is the time of John the Baptist, or one of them, anyway.  It was our Lord who identified him with Elijah, and it makes me wonder how literal Jesus meant this to be taken:  did he mean he was Elijah reincarnated?  Was he more like Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter? Of course, his meaning is clear in one sense:  John was the fulfillment of Elijah as a type, the fulfillment of his prophecy, the last of the prophets, by Christian reckoning.  Christ was speaking “literally” I suppose, but not in the sense we take it.  He was indeed come to “restore all things,” but to do so by announcing the coming of Christ.  Nor could he “be” Elijah, for a person is a mixture of soul and body, and therefore cannot coexist.  So, no, he was not the prophet reborn, but his fulfillment, just as Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.  Moreover, this must be so, for as the blessed Abbot Isaac makes clear, it is Christ who comes to dwell in us by the Holy Spirit, because he is also our Creator.  No creature can do this, and God does not violate us, “possess” us in the way evil spirits do.  Just as he dwelt physically in Mary’s womb, so he dwells in the Church, in the tabernacle, and in the souls of all the faithful. It is through Him we are connected to all those we love who have departed this life, and so be connected with them still, in spite of death.  So may we remain firm in Christ, announcing his coming like the Forerunner, not only with our lips, but with our lives.

~ by Alypius on December 17, 2017.

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