Wednesday, December 17, 2008
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. Then they asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" He said to them, "Elijah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him."
Comments: The prophet Malachi foretold that Elijah would return before the Messiah came. As the disciples come down from the mountain of Transfiguration, where they had seen a vision of Jesus with Moses and Elijah, Jesus tells his disciples not to share what they had seen. Elijah has already come, Jesus is saying to them, and the people of Israel treated him poorly. Jesus is also trying to tell his followers that he will be mistreated like the rest of the prophets.
In Advent I have a hard time thinking about if Jesus is coming or has already come. Granted, the readings are dealing with the Second Coming, but daily I am trying to live with the Christ that has already come to my heart. I do not subscribe to a theology that has us living in fear of the Second Coming. I believe that Christ has inserted the Divine into my life through the life of Jesus of Nazareth. I have a model to follow. I have a God to whom I can relate. Jesus was the Son of Man—a human. The Transfiguration show to the disciples that Jesus is not just a human—he walks with the greatest of Israel’s prophets. There are no words that can fully describe his relationship with God. The disciples didn’t understand; I don’t understand either. But I stand in a tradition that recognizes him as God. The Christ I know does not require me to make distinctions between God and man. I merely trust that friendship with him is also friendship with the God of the Universe and transformative for me.