Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 11:11-15)
“. . . among those born of women, there has none greater than John the Baptist.”
The words of Jesus Christ bestow upon John the Baptist the supreme compliment from The Supreme!
Why? What was it about John the Baptist that Jesus loved so much?
John the Baptist spent his public ministry reminding those who heard his message that it was not about him but rather one who was greater than him and whose mission was far greater than his own.
He reminded his listeners that they needed to refocus their lives on the belief that, as followers of Christ, they (and we) need to accept the fact that we are part of a greater mission which connects our thoughts and actions to one another.
Jesus said that he has come to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord. This is what Jesus’ ministry is about, and he wants us to be a part of it.
That is why Jesus keeps stretching us, so that our concern is not just about our own families but about the families of the poor. This why Jesus keeps trying to enlarge our vision, so that we are not just caught up in our own personal dreams but are able to identify with the dreams of prisoners and those who are held captive by hate and prejudice.
Now, accepting this vision of Jesus is not easy. It requires that we appraise ourselves of the factors in our society that are the cause of poverty and discern what are we called to do to help reduce the impact that poverty has on so many. It calls us to have the courage to enter into the debate in our country about racism and understand how this evil continues to hold back so many Americans from the freedom our country promises.
It calls us to open our heart to the immigrant rather than paint them with a brush of exclusion.
It calls us to recognize that the joys of another are our joys, so too are the needs and pain of another our needs and pain. To be connected to The Greater than we need to be connected to the smallest among us.
It calls us to think about what kingdom we want to belong to. Is it the kingdom of the secular world or the kingdom of God? If it’s the latter then we need to understand our interconnectedness to one another and act as if we believed it.
To do that, to be part of the whole of God’s people, means that we sublimate our individual ego and yield to Him. We need to get out of the way. When we open ourselves to His will in our lives, we are able to see the path that he wants us to take.
When we see that path, we will find that even the simplest actions of our lives take on deeper meaning. God is using us in His plan to love and serve the world.
Now that’s a life worth living.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, today by your grace I will strive to hear what you are inspiring in my life, and give you the freedom and the space to act beyond my expectations: I surrender to you. Take care of everything. “
Richard Rohr once said: “If it is true that our relationship to God in heaven is not about us, it is also true that our relationship to God on earth is not about us. When I say that it is not about us, I am not saying that we are inconsequential or worthless. God has given us real talents and abilities and expects us to use them. God has made us sons and daughters and given us great value. But when I say that our relationship to God is not about us, I am saying that God’s role and God’s action are primary. We play a supporting role. It is not about our plans. It is about God’s plan. It is not about our power. It is about God’s power. It is not about our glory. It is about God’s glory.