“Now I say to you, Elijah has come, but they did not recognize him. On the contrary, they did with him whatever they wanted. So the Son of Man will be mistreated by them “(Matthew 17:12).
The Jews awaited the return of Elijah; he was a well-recognized prophet in the Old Testament, he was the greatest of the prophets for all that he signified in the prophecy of Israel, in the teaching of the will of God, for the austere life he led, for the friendship and intimacy he had with the Lord.
The belief was that Elijah should return, but they did not understand the divine logic. It is not that Elijah would incarnate again to make himself present, but the “spirit” of Elijah. What he brought as the ardor of the presence of God in the midst of the people came in the figure of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist represented Elijah to the people, but they did not recognize him, not that John was the incarnate Elijah, but his values were present in the life of John the Baptist.
Many went to John and were baptized for him, received his words, but many mocked, despised and ridiculed John, saw in him a madman.
Jesus is saying, “As they did unto John, and they did not recognize him as a prophetic sign, they despised him, even as they would do unto the Son of Man.” The Son of Man will be mistreated, will not be recognized, and we know that He, after all this, will still be crucified and killed by men.
Contempt is non-recognition, contempt means not receiving, it is, above all, expelling that sacred presence from the midst of our lives.We can not despise the presence of God in our midst, let us not do this at all. We know that if we do not do it directly, we do it through indifference, in the slightest case, we do not recognize where God is present in our midst.
I could quote the Word of God, the sacraments, but there are visits of God to our environment that are ignored and despised, above all, when God manifests in the person of the neighbor. There is no closer visit to God in our midst than His visitation through suffering.
It does not mean that God wants us to suffer, but when suffering knocks at our door, God goes ahead to say that he is suffering with us and that he is at our side.
When I meet a sufferer, someone who is truly suffering, in my home, in my family, in the society where we are, there is the place to meet God, it is the place to welcome Him, there is the person of God present in the middle of us.
Let us not despise suffering, as if it were a curse, but find the blessing in suffering