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Tuesday, February 1. 2022Malachi1

Malachi 1

God’s Messengers

The last of the Minor Prophets, this anonymous writer gathers a collection of oracles in which he reproaches the authority caste – the priests and rulers.  It is likely because his criticism is direct and pointed that he does not reveal his identity and he chooses the name Malachi, or My Messenger.  This prophet writes about how a life of discipleship is equivalent to the process which silver or gold undergo during smelting – hard and fast fire under the watchful eye and in the careful hands of the smith.  This particular book gives us an historical perspective of life in the Jewish community returned from exile, between the period of Haggai and the reforms instituted by Ezra and Nehemiah.  It is likely that this writer’s words helped to prepare the community for the necessary reforms which took place in about 480 – 460 B.C.E.  This prophecy is perhaps a response to the great skepticism and apathy of the time; it recalls God’s love for us, and his divine retribution and justice.  It is perhaps the most cited of the prophetic books in the New Testament. This Messenger has come as a precursor to John the Baptist, announcing the impending arrival of the Messiah.  (Senior 1170 and La Biblia de América 1022)

When we look at these verses today, we can see that Malachi points directly to the leadership for their lack of stewardship and even for their pollution of sacred rituals and rites; but any one of us might examine our role as shepherd to see where and how we have served poorly and well.  Each of us is called to guide others as we journey together toward the New Kingdom.  And each of us can find ourselves in conversation with God, discerning how we have done well and how we might improve.

Today we might take a wider look at ourselves to see how we – as priests and leaders in our families and places of work and play – have brought Christ’s message to others.  Have we been good and faithful messengers on God’s behalf?  Have we incarnated this message to speak about it through our actions rather than through our words?  Have we been a constant bride to the constant bridegroom?  Do we tell the story well that God walks among us to release us from our fears and anxieties?  Have we let others know that our salvation is already been purchased for each of us?  Have we proclaimed aloud the good news that we are each born as children of God, and that we each have gifts freely given to us to share with God’s humanity?

Part of the evening prayer in MAGNIFICAT today is from the Acts of the Apostles 13:32-33: We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that God promised our ancestors he has brought to fulfillment for us, [their] children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”.

So as we prepare for evening, we might turn to God in prayer with these words.

Good and gracious God of all of us gathered here before you,

We come humbly before you to learn how we might better shepherd ourselves, and how we might better shepherd those you send along your Way to accompany us.  May we be ever mindful of this work, may we be ever truthful to your Way.  And when we lose our footing, may we always turn to you as the source and summit of all that is good.  We ask this in the name of our brother, Jesus Christ, who lives and walks with us today.  Amen. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 24.8 (2009). Print.  

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1170. Print.   

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. 1022. Print.

A Favorite from August 24, 2009.

For more reflections on this prophecy, enter the word Malachi in the blog search bar and explore. 

Image from: http://samluce.com/2014/02/free-bible-lesson-malachi-book-obedience/

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