Saturday of the Second Week of Advent
The current battle over the values
Till like a fire there appeared the prophet [Elijah] whose words were as a flaming furnace. You were taken aloft in a whirlwind, in a chariot with fiery horses. You are destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord. Sir 48,1.9-10
Then the disciples asked him, “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. Mt 17,10-13
To get an idea of the situation which had arisen in Palestine when John the Baptist came over, we might think of the one which had formed in the American towns founded by the early pioneers who, in caravan, went to the West. They had arrived bringing with them the law of the place of origin, but, with the elapsing of the time, the first who arrived became rich and powerful and began to manipulate the justice for their benefit, not forgetting to corrupt the sheriffs and the few men of law who were among them. Something similar happened in Palestine when John the Baptist first appeared and Jesus of Nazareth thereafter. The people of Israel had arrived in that Promised Land, taking with them the law of Moses and the tradition, but with the elapsing of the time the scribes and the pharisees, who were the dominant social classes, managed so well in their favor to make it instruments of power. When John the Baptist came, who began to denounce that factual situation, instead of being welcomed as the new Elijah, he was opposed and fought by the entire power of the religious establishment. This might seem a condition of another era, if not for the fact that even today, the message of the gospel has to face the same problem of John the Baptist. A great tendency to manipulate the message is under way by the dominant culture, often controlled by the established powers, to create a mean of confirmation and of support of their state and their views. Thank to God, the most recent popes have shown a firmness on the christian principles worthy of John the Baptist; nevertheless, a great battle which relates to the christian values, particularly in the areas of the family and the respect for the life, took place and it is still in place.