Then the disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist.
In the Bible there were great people that the Jews cannot forget. Among them is the great prophet Elijah, mentioned in both readings today.
The Jews believed that Elijah will return in the days of the Messiah. For them, he will be raised from the dead by God; as he was taken into heaven by means of a chariot of fire. He will be a sign of hope and salvation. He will come before the Messiah.
Jesus in today‘s gospel exhorted the people not to wait for Elijah because He is already in their midst. But, they did not recognize Him; rejected and persecuted Him. Jesus has the same fate with Elijah. He then is Elijah par excellence, bringing hope and salvation, sign of God‘s visitation to His people.
God through Jesus continues to come and visit us. He comes to us in the word of God, in the faces of the poor, in the community gathered in his name, in his ministers, in events and most especially in the sacred species of bread and wine. Do we recognize his presence in them? Or do we reject of him like the people of Jesus‘ times?