Feast of Saint Lucy
Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
Matthew 17:9a, 10-13
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Lucy who was martyred in Syracuse, Italy, around 303. Her name-Lucia-is derived from the Latin lux, meaning "light." She is considered a luminous witness to God.
This information fits nicely with our readings. The scripture presented to us from the Gospel of Matthew comes directly after Jesus transfiguration on "a high mountain" in the presence of Peter, James and John. As they make their way down the question to Jesus about Elijah makes sense in this context. The symbolism in the scene would not have been lost on them as they processed its significance. The prophet Malachi states, "Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the day of the Lord comes," (3:23). Elijah was the one who called Israel to repentance of their sins in a time when Hellenism-with their many gods-threatened to erode the Jewish faith, especially their belief in only one God-YHWH.
It seems the disciples are gathering the elements of what they had witnessed with its Messianic significance: Moses, whose face shone like the sun received the Law on the mountain; Elijah; the bright cloud understood as the presence of God. Once again they have their eyes opened by Jesus as they make the connection between Elijah and John the Baptist. They now understand who had been among them.
This gives me hope to realize the disciples didn’t always get what was truly in their presence. Jesus taught them, performed miracles, even gave them the power to do likewise (Matt 10:1) and still it seems they missed the significance of John the Baptist!
I wonder how much have I missed along the way? Yet, even in their humanity God still worked through them.
"In these busy days of preparation for Christmas, Lord, open my eyes to your presence all around me! Slow us all down; turn our hearts towards you and each other so we may understand the true gift which burns brightly -you-in-us!"
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.