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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings, Old Testament, Prophets

John is Elijah

Submitted by on Thursday, 9 December 2010No Comment

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  • Reading I:  Isaiah 41:13-20
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:1 and 9, 10-11, 12-13ab
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:11-15

Consolation and Encouragement for the Downtrodden

The exiles were suffering from reduced self-esteem, probably comparing themselves to a worm. It is Deutero-Isaiah’s job to convince them that the Lord loves them and has forgiven them.

Isaiah 41:13-20 is just a part of a longer tract where the prophet convinces the exiles to return to their land because Yahweh wants them to. All of the first Isaiah’s talk about the "remnant" and the "saving act" that Yahweh reserves for the future of His people are re-read and re-stated by Deutero-Isaiah. No longer is Assyria the instrument of Yahweh’s wrath. Now it is Jacob, "The Worm", whom the Lord will use against His enemies.

Once more, Yahweh presents Himself to the exiles in His traditional Names as "The Helper", "The Holy One", "God of Israel", "Lord". As in the past, He will give water — abundant water — to His people. And He will re-create the desert and turn it into an oasis.

John the Baptist

Jesus praises John the Baptist, the prophet who has opened up the period of Israel’s Consolation. Because of him, the Kingdom of God is being besieged by those who wish to enter it. People are eager to enter, and their eagerness is comparable to violence. The Baptist however is likened to Moses who led Israel to the threshold of the land of Promise but was not able to enter in. Thus, Jesus can say, "the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he." John the Baptist did not become Christ’s follower and member of His Church, but his disciples did. But Jesus does reveal who the Baptist is: He is Elijah, the one whom the prophet Malachi prophesied would come in the last days to prepare the way for the Lord.

Guideline for Actualization

Advent is a time of consolation. We may have the self-esteem of a worm at times. Just remember that the Lord will not allow us to feel like a worm forever. Even a caterpillar can develop into a beautiful butterfly. It is the Lord who by His grace can transform us into something beautiful for the Father.

Isaiah 41:13-20
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
13For I am the Lord thy God, who take thee by the hand, and say to thee: Fear not, I have helped thee.
14Fear not, thou worm of Jacob, you that are dead of Israel: I have helped thee, saith the Lord: and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel.
15I have made thee as a new thrashing wain, with teeth like a saw: thou shall thrash the mountains, and break them in pieces: and shalt make the hills as chaff.
16Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, in the Holy One of Israel thou shalt be joyful.
17The needy and the poor seek for waters, and there are none: their tongue hath been dry with thirst. I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18I will open rivers in the high bills, and fountains in the midst of the plains: I will turn the desert into pools of waters, and the impassable land into streams of waters.
19I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, and the thorn, and the myrtle, and the olive tree: I will set in the desert the fir tree, the elm, and the box tree together:
20That they may see and know, and consider, and understand together that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.
Psalm 145:1
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1I will extol thee, O God my king: and I will bless thy name for ever; yea, for ever and ever.
Matthew 11:11-15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
11Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.
13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John:
14And if you will receive it, he is Elias that is to come.
15He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Isaiah 41:13-20
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
13For I am the Lord thy God, who take thee by the hand, and say to thee: Fear not, I have helped thee.
14Fear not, thou worm of Jacob, you that are dead of Israel: I have helped thee, saith the Lord: and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel.
15I have made thee as a new thrashing wain, with teeth like a saw: thou shall thrash the mountains, and break them in pieces: and shalt make the hills as chaff.
16Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, in the Holy One of Israel thou shalt be joyful.
17The needy and the poor seek for waters, and there are none: their tongue hath been dry with thirst. I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18I will open rivers in the high bills, and fountains in the midst of the plains: I will turn the desert into pools of waters, and the impassable land into streams of waters.
19I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, and the thorn, and the myrtle, and the olive tree: I will set in the desert the fir tree, the elm, and the box tree together:
20That they may see and know, and consider, and understand together that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

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