Advent Reflection: Sometimes the crazy are prophetic
I do not know if Catholics are terribly familiar with the prophet Elijah. But he is a colorful character of the Old Testament, chosen by God to confront the powerful, call them out for evil actions, and is the vehicle for the powerful actions of God. The rulers of this age may be powerful here, but it is God who is ultimately all-powerful.
Everything about Elijah is dramatic. With no introduction, he bursts on the scene in 1Kings 17:1. He immediately confronts the evil King Ahab, calling on Yahweh to send a three-and-a-half-year drought on the people for their wickedness. King Ahab’s wicked wife Jezebel, rather than seeing the power of God, can only see her embarrassment when the prophets of Baal, the worship of whom she introduced, are unable to end the drought.
The prophet Malachi indicates Elijah will return (he was taken up in the clouds) before the Messiah, and Jesus makes clear that John the Baptist is Elijah. There are many similarities between John the Baptist and Elijah, in appearance and in prophetic message. Just as Elijah confronts the power of his day, John the Baptist does the same. Both are in situations where it is necessary to confront power because of the evil that has become overwhelming.
Most especially, Elijah was an ordinary person. He was flawed. He did not seek out his role as a prophet, it was given to him. While he willingly accepts this role, he does not appear to be successful, and even falls into deep depression. His being on the run and seeking out shelter on Horeb (Sinai) is the inspiration for the Carmelite order today.
We live in an age where evil is all around us. We need to confront evil wherever it is. We need to seek the courage that only God can give, and we need to be the vehicles of God’s grace for others.
Each day during the season of Advent, you will find an advent reflection from faculty and students at Christian Brothers College High School. To find all the reflections, go to our Advent Reflections page.