Our Old Testament Reading today, from the book of Sirach, speaks about the prophet Elijah, whose name means “The Lord Is God”. Elijah was a zealous prophet for God. You probably know the story of how Elijah did not die, but was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. This passage tells us that Elijah is destined to return to earth to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming of the Messiah.
Our gospel reading today (Matthew 17:9-13) is set on a mountain. Any time that scripture takes us to a mountain, it is a place where God is present. On that mountain, the glory of Jesus had just been revealed to Peter, James and John in the Transfiguration. They had encountered Moses and Elijah on top of that mountain. Peter, James and John were faithful Jews, and they knew the Hebrew Scriptures. Moses’ presence at the Transfiguration represented the LAW in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament), and Elijah’s presence represented the PROPHETS in the Hebrew Scriptures. At the Transfiguration, Jesus represents the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
In the gospel today, they are coming back down the mountain with Jesus, and discussing the prophecy from Sirach which told that Elijah would return Jesus helped them to realize that Elijah had returned in the form of John the Baptist. Jesus helped his disciples to understand God’s actions more clearly by recognizing John the Baptist as the one who was sent by God to ‘prepare the way’ for the Messiah.
Spending time with Jesus, and asking for his help to understand, is the way that we can recognize God’s actions in our lives and in the world.
How much time do you spend with Jesus? As you pray today, ask Jesus to show you his glory, and ask him to reveal to you what God wants you to know.