Jesus said to the crowds:
“Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
In Malachi 3:23 we read, “Now I am sending to you Elijah the prophet, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and terrible day…” That is what Jesus is referring to here in today’s Gospel. He is saying that John the Baptist “is Elijah, the one who is to come”.
John was sent to prepare the way of the Lord and he was beheaded. Jesus too would be taken “by force” and crucified. Evil has tried to thwart God’s plans in so many ways but God has won the victory and defeated even death itself.
Evil continues to this day to try to defeat God and to kill Christians by force. ISIS seems to be making strides. Christians have been killed in great numbers. They want us to lose hope, much like they wanted Jesus’ followers to lose hope when they killed Him. Good will win in the end and we have to keep that hope. “Whoever has ears ought to hear,” Jesus tells us.
God has brought His people through the most difficult situations in salvation history and He will continue to do so. But He calls each one of us to do our part. It begins with each of us growing in holiness, dedicating time to prayer, reading the Scriptures and fasting. The more we grow individually in our relationship with Jesus, the stronger the Body of Christ grows throughout the world.
Good will win in the end. Do not lose hope. But do not sit idly – prepare the way of the Lord in the same way John the Baptist did. It may hurt. You may not be accepted by everyone. But that is ok. Many good people have gone before us carrying the torch for Christ and they pass it on to us today.
Are you ready to be a torch-bearer for Christ?
Are you dedicating yourself diligently to growing in holiness?
How are you preparing the way for the Lord this Advent?
Have a blessed day!