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Thought of the day
Saturday, December 10, 2016

Saturday of the Second week of Advent

“How awesome are you, Elijah!… You were taken aloft in a whirlwind…You are destined… in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord.” (Sir 48:4.9f.)

Saturday of the Second week of Advent

Commentary of the day 

Saint Romanos Melodios (?-c 560), composer of hymns 
Hymn on the prophet Elijah

“How awesome are you, Elijah!… You were taken aloft in a whirlwind…You are destined… in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord.” (Sir 48:4.9f.)

Confronted with human perversity, Elijah considered making the punishment even harsher. Upon seeing this, the Merciful One told the prophet: “I know your zeal for good (1 Kings 19:14), I know your good will, but I have compassion on sinners when they are punished beyond measure. You are angry because you are without reproach; can you not resign yourself? As for me,  I cannot resign myself to even one single person being lost (Mt 18:14), for I am the only friend of humankind.” (Wis 1:6) 

In what followed, the Master, seeing how short-tempered the prophet was with respect to human beings, was concerned about them. He removed Elijah from the earth where they live saying: “Distance yourself from where human beings dwell. I in my mercy will go down to them by becoming man. So leave the earth and come on up, since you cannot tolerate people’s faults. But I, who am from heaven, I will dwell among sinners and save them from their faults, I, the only friend of humankind. 

“If you cannot live with guilty human beings, come here, live in the domain of my friends where there is no more sin. I will go down, for I can put the lost sheep on my shoulders and bring it back (Lk 15:5), and I can cry to those who labor: Come quickly, all you sinners, come to me and rest (Mt 11:28). For I have not come to punish those whom I created, but to tear the sinners away from ungodliness, I, the only friend of humankind.” 

Thus, when Elijah was lifted up to the heavens (2 Kings 2:11), he was perceived as the person for the future. This Tishbite (1 Kings 17:1) was lifted up in a chariot of fire; Christ was lifted up among the clouds and the powers (Acts 1:9). The former dropped his cloak to Elisha from the heights of heaven (2 Kings 2:13); Christ sent to his apostles the Holy Spirit, the Advocate (Jn 15:26), whom we, the baptized, all received and by whom we are sanctified, as the only friend of humankind teaches.

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