Sewing Hope Into Broken Hearts
Dec. 16, 2017

Gift's That Keep Giving

‘What day is it?’ ‘It's today,’ squeaked Piglet. ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh. ~A.A Milne

A few years ago during the Christmas Season, my family sat down to watch old videos of previous Christmas day celebrations. One of the more memorable moments was watching the video where my brother and I opened the original Sony PlayStation console. There was a lot of screaming, celebrating, dancing and merrymaking as we received the hottest gift on the planet from Santa. Today, that PlayStation is long forgotten, its games are outdated and neither my little brother nor myself can remember whether we sold, misplaced, or buried the console in a box marked “basement”; but watching that moment on film was a lot of fun for my family as we laughed at our original excitement and childhood exuberance. Our joy was a greater gift than the PlayStation. 

As I reflect upon the readings for today, I can’t help but notice how the scriptures are reminding us to recognize how spiritually rich we are in the present moment. Ben Sira, a diplomatic ambassador of Israel who later in life opened a school for youth, authored the Book of Sirach. In the first reading, He is reminding His students and us of the greatness of Elijah. “How awesome are you Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Whose glory is equal to yours?” (Is it just me or does Elijah sound a lot like a PlayStation console?) 

As we move to the Gospel reading, Jesus answers an important theological question about the legendary prophet. The Scribes believed that Elijah was such a great gift to Israel that he would return at an unexpected time and prepare the way for the Messiah. As Jesus points out, those looking for Elijah are looking for the wrong gift. Instead of getting wrapped up in the return of an old prophet, they should have been paying attention to the fruits of a new prophet with a similar message; John the Baptist (It’s a lot like winning the “PlayStation 2” at your senior prom in high school; I know from first-hand experience).

These readings help us remember that we shouldn’t be so wrapped up with gifts of the past, no matter how great. When we long so much for past moments and memories, we forget that we have a future and become narrow-minded. So take some time today to look around and see how God has blessed you in the here and now.