God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In those days,
like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Elijah is a powerful figure in the Old Testament, and John the Baptist was referred to him by Jesus as Elijah that came before him. Elijah's name means God. Yet in this sense Jesus meant that John the Baptist was a powerful prophet as close to God as anyone can get. And it is quite possible with God that John the Baptist was Elijah.
His words scorched the ears of those who listened to him preach repentance. Make way for the Lord. God in his goodness was paving the way for His Son, to show us the truth. He tried to bring about faithfulness in us and we didn't come about.
God tries in many ways to bring us closer to him, to the point of coming to us as a man, a powerful prophet. He even came to us in His Son, because when we see the Son we see God. If you ever get to see Veronica's Veil you will see not only Jesus but God too, for he is the image of his Father.