One Minute Reflection – 11 December – Saturday of the Second week of Advent, Readings: Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11; Psalm 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16, 18-19; Matthew 17: 9-13
“I tell you that Elijah has already come and they did not recognise him but did to him, whatever they pleased.” – Matthew 17:12
REFLECTION – “Our Lord bore witness that John is the greatest of the prophets, yet he received the Spirit according to a certain degree, since John received a spirit like that of Elijah.
Just as Elijah went to dwell in solitude, so God’s Spirit led John to dwell in the wilderness, mountains and caves. A raven flew to Elijah’s help by feeding him; John ate locusts. Elijah wore a leather belt and John wore a leather loincloth round his hips. Elijah was persecuted by Jezebel; Herodias persecuted John. Elijah rebuked Ahab; John rebuked Herod. Elijah divided the waters of the Jordan; John opened up baptism. Elijah’s double measure of spirit came to rest on Elisha; John placed his hands on Our Lord, Who then received the Spirit without measure (Jn 3:34). Elijah opened Heaven and went up; John saw the Heavens opened and the Spirit of God descending and resting on our Saviour.” – St Aphrahat “Jacob” (c 280-c345) Monk and Bishop near Mosul (The Demonstrations, no 6, 13).
PRAYER – Almighty God, let the splendour of Your glory dawn in our hearts. May the coming of Your only Son, dispel all darkness and reveal that we are children of light and Truth. and may His Holy Mother always intercede for us in this vale of tears. We make our prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, now and forever, amen.
The long list of Syriac writers whose works have come down to us, is headed by Aphraates (fourth century), surnamed the “Persian Sage”. The few biographical data which we possess of this illustrious author are gleaned from his own writings. From these we learn that he was born of pagan parents during the last half of the third century, very probably on the frontier region of the Persian empire.
After his conversion to Christianity he embraced the religious life and was later elevated to the episcopate, on which occasion he assumed the Christian name of Jacob. The adoption of this name subsequently led to a confusion of identity, and for centuries the works of Aphraates were ascribed to the famous Jacob, Bishop of Nisibis (died 338). It was not until the tenth century that the “Persian Sage” was finally identified with Aphraates, the name under which he is known to modern scholars. The writings of Aphraates consist of twenty-three “Demonstrations,” or homilies on moral and controversial topics.