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(Part 18)


December 14, 2019

Today’s readings:
Sirach 48:1-4,9-11
Psalm 80:3-4,16-17,19-20[1]
Matthew 17:10-13

Jesus said of Elijah the prophet: “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things” (Mt 17:11). Elijah was a great prophet. Ben Sira extolled Elijah: “How awesome are you, Elijah! Whose glory is equal to yours?” (Sir 48:4). Elijah did come, in the person of John the Baptist (Mt 17:12-13). Now John was used by God to prepare the way of the Lord Jesus. We too have been given that task, looking to the second coming of Christ.

We can only follow in the footsteps of Elijah and John the Baptist if we are founded on the Rock that is Christ.

We are Missionary Families of Christ. We are destined to serve Christ and prepare the way for his return. We are to follow in the way of Elijah, of whom it was said: “You are destined, it is written, in time to come ….” (Sir 48:10a). To do what?

First, “to re-establish the tribes of Israel” (Sir 48:10d). We as MFC are “of Christ.” We belong to Christ. All God’s people belong to him. But in today’s world, many Christians are lost. Many Catholics are lapsed. There is growing apostasy. We need to help re-establish God’s dominion over His people, starting with ourselves. We need to help our Church recover her sanctity as well as her missionary spirit.

Second, “to turn back the hearts of parents toward their children” (Sir 48:10c). We as MFC are “Families.” Marriage and family are God’s design. The family is the basic unit of society and of the Church. The strength of society and the Church depends on the strength, stability and spirituality of families. But in today’s world, Christian marriage and the family are viciously assaulted and have been disintegrating. Many married couples do not want to have children. Some abort their unborn children. Many parents neglect their parental duties. We need to renew the family and defend life. We need to strengthen marriages, starting with ourselves.

Third, “to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord” (Sir 48:10b). We as MFC are “Missionary.” We exist for mission. The Church of which we are a part is missionary. The proclamation of the gospel is the most important aspect of our work, as commanded by Jesus himself. But in today’s world, we are incurring the wrath of God, as the extent of evil spreads and deepens. Many souls are being lost. When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on earth? And so we do our work before the day of the Lord. This task is urgent and critical, as the eternal destination of souls is at stake.

Elijah’s ministry has been associated with fire. “Until like fire a prophet appeared, his words a flaming furnace.” (Sir 48:1). “By God’s word he …. three times brought down fire.” (Sir 48:3). And he was “taken aloft in a whirlwind, in a chariot with fiery horses.” (Sir 48:9). Now Jesus came to set the earth on fire and wished that it were already blazing. Fire came upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost. In the same way, we must be fired up by the Spirit. We must be blazing with anger at the work of the enemy, and consumed with zeal for the work of the Lord.

We pray for the restoration of God’s people and of our Church. We pray for salvation for ourselves, for our families, and for the people of God. We pray to be empowered as God’s holy warriors. “Stir up your power, and come to save us. O God, restore us; light up your face and we shall be saved.” (Ps 80:3b-4).

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[1] The verse numbers in the New American Bible follow the Hebrew numbering and are a verse ahead as against the numbering in the Greek Psalter, because the superscriptions are counted as a verse. Thus other translations would have the following reading for today: Psalm 80:2-3,15-16,18-19.



(Part 19)


December 15, 2019
Today’s gospel: Matthew 11:2-11

Jesus makes a striking statement: “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.” (v.11). The least in the Kingdom are we Christians. John’s greatness lay in his task of announcing the imminence of the Kingdom, but we are in the Kingdom. John had the great honor of being the herald of the coming of the Savior, but we are those saved by Jesus and who inherit the Kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world.

Our greatness is in our being founded on the Rock that is Christ. For us in the community of Missionary Families of Christ, our greatness will be manifest as we live out our calling and remain true to our name.

We are “of Christ.” John was a messenger who pointed to Christ, but we belong to Christ, who are sent forth as his messengers as well. John was the forerunner of the Messiah, but we as disciples are the runners of Christ.

We are “Families.” John was a cousin of Jesus, being born of Elizabeth who was a relative of Mary, but we are brothers of Jesus and children of Mary. John met Jesus while both of them were in the wombs of their mothers and later met Jesus in the Jordan, but we meet Christ and live with him every day of our lives, and he is with us always until the end of the age.

We are “Missionary.” John prepared the way for the coming of Jesus (v.10), but we prepare the way for his second coming. John baptized with water for repentance, but we are used as instruments by Jesus to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.John preached in the spirit and power of the great prophet Elijah, but we preach in the power of the Spirit of God. John preached in the whole region of the Jordan, but we are sent to the ends of the earth.

We have been destined for greatness. It happens as we are founded on the Rock that is Christ.

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