December 28, 2017

Post-feast of the Nativity of Christ; the Two Thousand Martyrs Who Were Burned in Nicomedia (303); Passing into eternal life (1945) of Blessed Hryhoriy (Gregory) Khomyshyn, Bishop of Stanyslaviv (Ivano-Frankivs’k) and martyr
No fasting or abstinence.

Hebrews 10:35-11:7; Mark 9:10-16

Christ is born!

As Jesus came down from Mount Tabor with Peter, James, and John, having just been transfigured before them, with Moses and Elijah, He asked them not to tell anyone of that event. However, these disciples knew the Scriptures, and especially the book of Malachi where it details the return of Elijah, the coming of the Messiah, and the Lord of all erupting into human history and being victorious over all (often interpreted at that time as Israel being victorious over all others, i.e. a political/national victory). Hence, their question arises about Elijah. They seemed a little confused as it wasn’t in the order that they expected. Our Lord assures them that it was John the Baptist in whom occurred the the return of Elijah. But He also wanted them to be aware the Lord’s understanding of victory. According to the Lord’s plan, victory involved the suffering and death of the Messiah. At the time, the disciples just didn’t get it.

We are in the midst of celebrating the Nativity of our Lord (yes, it’s only day 4!). In our joy of feasting the incarnation of our God, His becoming like us in all ways except sin, so that we might become like Him by His grace, we may become a little zealous in our prayers. We may even go so far as to tell the Lord not only about a problem or difficulty, but also how to fix it. Like the disciples in today’s Gospel, we may have our own preconceived notions of the Lord’s victory in our lives, ones that won’t consider suffering and even death. In our feasting, let’s give those notions up, and really listen to the Lord. He has a plan for each of us and all of us. It might involve some suffering for us, but only that which we can bear, and to lead us to a new understanding – His understanding. His ways are beyond our expectations!

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