It is 23rd December 2017. The readings are from Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24; and the Gospel from Luke 1:57-66. Whenever we meet a person, we are so curious to know the meaning behind the name of the person. Children are named after prominent persons, ancestors, parents or something that is so significant for the parents referring some sort of meaning. Mostly, people are surprised and have no awareness of any meaning for their names. Seldom do we find names with the deep meanings these days. The first reading speaks about the new Elijah in the person of John the Baptist. “Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes.” (Mal.3:23). Every messenger is sent by God for preparing the hearts of the people to heed what God has intended for God’s people. Malachi means messenger or the message of the prophet. During the second week of the Advent, we reflected about the appearance of Elijah before the birth of Christ Jesus. Jesus himself quotes twice the passage referring John the Baptist, who was to come before the Messiah. In this context, messenger is not the Messiah. The messengers are given a mandate by God to prepare and turn the hearts of people towards God. In no way or time, the messenger would turn into Messiah. The responsorial Psalm uplifts our spirits, “Stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.” (Lk.21:28). The Gospel presents us with the birth and naming ritual of John the Baptist. John means ‘God is gracious.’ The family of Zachariah and Elizabeth rejoiced when they the bundle of joy brought the miracle of speech to his own father to praise God. This is new Elijah began the ministry right from the outset starting from his own family of origin. “And indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.” (Lk.1: 66). Love is multiplied when we share joy with the others. God entered the family of John the Baptist and made him an instrument, the messenger, the voice, the message, the spokesperson for God just because of their openness to allow God in their lives. God’s goodness and graciousness is for all people. It is up to each one of us receive the one who can save us. God, in the person of Jesus, his Only Son saves us. We are not the Messiah for anyone called to be, but we need to be the messenger of God in all what we say and do. May you have a good day.

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