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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 16.12.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 16.12.2023

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SIRACH 48: 1 – 4, 9 – 11b

In those days: Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch. He brought a famine upon them, and by his zeal he made them few in number. By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, and also three times brought down fire. How glorious you were, O Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! And who has the right to boast which you have? You who were taken up by a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with horses of fire; you who are ready at the appointed time, it is written, to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob. Blessed are those who saw you, and those who have fallen asleep in your love.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 80: 2ac and 3b, 15 – 16a, 18 – 19 (R.) 4

R/. O God, bring us back; let your face shine on us, and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
enthroned on the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse up your might and come to save us. R/.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore;
look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted. R/.

May your hand be on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have confirmed as your own.
And we shall never forsake you again;
give us life that we may call upon your name. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Luke 3: 4, 6

Alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight; all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
Elijah has already come and they did not know him.
MATTHEW 17: 10 – 13

As they were coming down the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He replied, “Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of man will suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Approaching the Word of God
December 16, 2023

“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 17:12–13)

The last of the Old Testament Prophets was Malachi. He concluded his ministry about 400 years prior to the coming of Christ. Malachi prophesied that a “messenger” would come before the Messiah so as to prepare the way before Him. Malachi goes on further to say that “Elijah the Prophet” will come before the day of the Lord (See Malachi 3:1–24).

Many of the people at the time of Jesus did not understand this prophecy and were not even aware of it. Therefore, the scribes used this prophecy to confuse many of the people by claiming that since “Elijah” had not come, then clearly Jesus was not the promised Messiah.

Jesus clarified to the disciples that the “messenger,” who was to be the new Elijah, had already come in the person of John the Baptist. Thus, in clarifying this, Jesus also clarified that the scribes were not accurate in their attempt to interpret the Scriptures and were actively misleading the people on account of their errors.

One thing this tells us is that we must approach the word of God with humility. The pride of the scribes led them to believe that they had some sort of extraordinary wisdom that they did not. Thus, they acted as poor spiritual teachers of the people of God.

Humility before the Word of God is essential if we are to properly understand not only the Old Testament prophecies but also the very words of Jesus Himself. Without humility before the Word of God, we can all easily misinterpret the beautiful and holy words spoken by our Lord.

Everything in the Scriptures is profound, deep and true. And by this holy Word of God we come to meet God Himself. But if we allow pride to seep in, we may find ourselves imitating the scribes and misunderstanding God’s Word. The result will be a skewed image of God which will become an impediment to our personal encounter with our loving Lord. But if we can always remain humble before all that God has revealed to us, then we will more easily be open to those deepest and most beautiful truths God wants to speak to our hearts.

Reflect, today, upon any way that you have found yourself confused by the Word of God. Try to humbly open your heart more fully to that which our Lord wants to speak to you. Listen with an open mind and heart and allow the pure gift of faith to become your guide so that you will be led to those deepest truths of our faith.

PRAYER:
My mysterious and beautiful Lord, You have revealed to us the deepest and most profound mysteries of life through Your written Word. May I always approach Your Word with humility and openness so that I will come to know You more fully. Jesus, I trust in You.

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