Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
December 9, 2010
Matthew 11: 11 – 15
John the Baptist is one of three persons whom the Church places before us to act as our guide during this Advent Season. The other two are well-known to us: Isaiah and Our Lady.
The Gospel read at Mass this morning is from Saint Matthew. In it, we hear Jesus tell the people:
Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater
than John the Baptist.
This is very high praise and because it is Christ who is saying these words, one might naturally ask: Why? Upon close observation, we find that the Baptist is an austere man who preaches an unpopular message: Repent of your sins, undergo a personal conversion and prepare to do penance.
Later, John runs afoul of King Herod and Herodias, because he denounced their sinful relationship. As a consequence, John the Baptist suffered death.
John’s whole life and his martyrdom seem to be the signs of object failure. So, why then does Jesus pay John that great tribute?
Christ praises the Baptist because this most extraordinary man lived the virtue of constancy, fidelity and perseverance to a degree that was heroic. John does not refuse his vocation; he does not delegate it to another; nor does he abandon his calling once he begins.
Herein lies John’s true greatness. He fulfilled God’s plan for him, “to the letter,” so to say. This is an important and timely reminder to each one of us, especially during these days of advent.
Christ calls each one of us, student, professor, priest, to carry out His Will; to live in the present that life which He has planned for us.
May these days of Advent and the example and intercession of Saint John the Baptist, strengthen our resolve to live the virtues of constancy, fidelity and perseverance now and always.