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Saturday of the Second Week of Advent 

Matthew 17:9a, 10-13
As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, open my heart to your inspirations in this moment of prayer. I believe that you have something you wish to say to me, and I want to be ready to hear you. Good Jesus, increase my trust in you and teach me to love you more and more. 
Encountering Christ

  1. Jesus Is Always Open: Jesus must have welcomed this question from his disciples. They seem to be sincerely trying to understand why or how things were unfolding so differently from what they had expected. How good Jesus is that he never despises or shames us, even in our slowness to understand his ways. Perhaps in this time of prayer, we can sit with our questions and let our hearts be open before him, knowing that he is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
  2. Jesus Reminds Us: The Apostles still didn’t understand entirely, but their slowness didn’t keep Jesus from trying to help them along. Even here, he reminded them–gently, but clearly–that the Son of Man would suffer. Jesus had not come to establish a worldly kingdom here but to lead us, through this world, to the Kingdom of Heaven that will have no end. We may fear suffering, as the Apostles did, but let us keep our eyes on Jesus and not lose hope. He has taken all this suffering upon himself and redeemed it, so we can never suffer for naught. He doesn’t promise to take away all the difficulties, but he, God-with-us, Emmanuel, is with us through them all. 
  3. They Understood: It seems from today’s Scripture that the disciples understood the meaning of Jesus’ words all at once, in a moment. “Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.” Those little (or big) “ah-ha” moments we sometimes experience, whether slow awakenings or coincidences–“God-winks”–are wonderful expressions of God’s loving care for us. We can sense the Holy Spirit at work, enlightening our minds to see God’s hand at work in a new way, and our hearts fill with gratitude. Notice, however, that new insights follow when we’ve had the courage and childlike simplicity to ask questions of Jesus. He invites us to “speak up” in prayer, wrestle with difficult truths, and persevere, bringing our difficulties to him with the same openness and sincerity as his Apostles did. As we reach the halfway point of Advent, perhaps we can pause, heart-to-heart with Jesus, and speak to him of these things. 

Conversing with Christ: Good Jesus, thank you for this time of prayer. Thank you for reminding me that you are so gentle, good, and patient. You neither despise my slowness nor shame me for my faults. How much I need your mercy, Jesus! Come, make haste! Come to my heart and come into this waiting world, so in need of your grace and salvation. 
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to be sincere before you and let you into these places of my heart where I feel afraid, confused, or uncertain about what you are asking of me. I trust that if I open the door, you will enter with grace. 
For Further Reflection: You may wish to spend time in prayer with this prayer of abandonment, of Bl. Charles of Jesus
Beth Van de Voorde is a Regnum Christi Consecrated Woman, currently serving in pastoral ministry to families in Madrid and Valencia, Spain. When she’s not reading Ratzinger or humming along to some song or another, you may find her making her pilgrim way through Spain’s timeless history of faith, walking alongside the beautiful families and young people she’s there to serve.

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