Thought of the day
Saturday, December 12, 2015

Commentary of the day : Saint Irenaeus of Lyons

"I tell you: Elijah has already come"

Our Lady of Guadalupe - Feast

Commentary of the day 
Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.208), Bishop, theologian and martyr 
Against the heresies, III, 10-11 (SC 34)
"I tell you: Elijah has already come"

Concerning John the Baptist, we read in Luke: “He will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare a people fit for the Lord,” (Lk 1,15.17). For whom, then, did he prepare a people and in the sight of which Lord was he great? Without any doubt, before him who said that John had something about him that was “more than a prophet” and that “among those born of women, none has arisen greater than John the Baptist,” (Mt 11,9.11). For John prepared a people by announcing beforehand to his companions in servitude the coming of the Lord and by preaching repentance to them, so that, when the Lord came, they would be ready to receive his forgiveness and might return to him from whom they had been estranged by their sins and transgressions… This is why, by drawing them back to their Lord, John prepared for the Lord a people who were ready and willing, in the spirit and power of Elijah…

John the Evangelist tells us: “A man named John was sent by God. He came for testimony, to testify to the Light. He was not the Light but came to testify to the Light,” (Jn 1,6-8). This man John the Baptist, the Forerunner, who gave testimony to the light, had undoubtedly been sent by God who… had promised by the prophets to send his messenger before the face of his Son to prepare his way, (Mal 3,1; Mk 1,2), that is to say, to give testimony to the Light in the spirit and power of Elijah… It was precisely because John was a witness that the Lord said he was more than a prophet. All the other prophets had announced the coming of the Father’s light and had longed to be accounted worthy of seeing the one they were preaching about. John prophesied as they did but saw him present; he made him known and persuaded many to believe in him, so that, at one and the same time, he filled the place of both prophet and apostle. That is why Christ said of him that he was “more than a prophet.”