But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased. — Mark 9:13
…but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him. — Matthew 17:12.
Yesterday we discussed the transfiguration, and Jesus leading Peter, James, and John back down the mountain. The disciples don’t want to accept that Jesus will die and rise from the dead so they ask isn’t Elijah supposed to come first? Jesus tells them that Elijah has already come and the disciples then understood Jesus was speaking of John the Baptist.
How often is it the case that we fail to recognize the prophets in our very midst? We are so glued to our cellphones, our iPads, and other time saving and cool devices we can’t put them down or turn them off. It has gotten so bad that we’ve had to pass laws to stop people from texting while driving, and yet half the time I pull up to another car the driver is staring at their phone, not the road or the wonders of nature. How many of my readers put their phone down when they arrive home to their family and turn it off? How many times do we see families out to dinner and each child is glued to an electronic device? I could go on and on but you get my point.
For us to recognize the Elijah’s and other prophets among us we need to look and listen for them. If our surroundings are limited to the distance between us and our electronic device we will never find them, and others will do to them “whatever they pleased.”
Lent is not limited to sacrifice and prayer, it is a perfect time to seek out the holy in our neighbors, in our enemies, and in our surroundings. Elijah may have “already come” but there are more prophets out there to find. Use the Lenten season as a time to search.