It is 23rd December 2016. The readings are from Malachi 3:1-4; 4:5-6 and the Gospel from Luke 1:57-66. In the first reading, God wishes to send a messenger to prepare before the arrival of God’s only Son Jesus. With the death of Malachi, the voice of prophets were silent for four hundred years. After that period of silence and expectation of the Saviour, Elijah was one of the greatest prophets, who herald Christ coming. New Elijah is John the Baptist who would purify the hearts of those who long to see the Messiah like the metal that is purified in fire. All impurities will have to be removed before we accommodate the Redeemer in our lives. Malachi invites us to be committed to the Lord. God deserves the best nothing less than the best. The best of our being and the willingness to change our sinful ways of living in order to meet the New Born King Jesus with the heart full of gratitude and purity. The responsorial Verse acclaims, “Stand, erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.” (Lk.21:28). Yes, indeed the Lord is very near than ever. Are our lives, families, friends near the Lord during the most important time of the year? The Gospel presents us with the circumcision and naming of John, which means God’s gift or God is gracious. John the Baptist prepared the hearts of people to repent of their sins. The arrival of Jesus, the Saviour would bring unity and peace and eventual punishment on those who refuse to repent. We are informed, “the hand of the Lord was with John.” (Lk.1:66). Whenever we stand for Jesus and work for Jesus, the mighty power of God is in our lives too. May we make some serious efforts to bring everyone near the Lord as we have decided to come closer to Jesus in the manger. May you have a peaceful day.