The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Julius de Gracia):
Jesus in our Gospel today has said, “…no one greater than John the Baptist had arisen from among sons of women; and yet, the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mt. 11:11) The message I believe is about the greatness of St. John and I would like to propose that this greatness is founded in his humility, acknowledging his rightful place in the salvific plan and design of God.
The world is teaching and is showing us that greatness is not about humility but about power, wealth and fame. If we possess these things then our greatness is assured. Greatness is about achievement, about properties acquired, about control in terms of power. But St. John is clearly showing us how to be great and Jesus is assuring us that our own individual greatness will never surpass that of St. John. If St. John was a typical person who is not divinely humble but is obsessed by greed of power and greatness, then it is very easy for him to grab the honor, the title and power of the Messiah. He has followers, he has the clout of people, He can easily claim that He is the most awaited Messiah. But he did not, why? Because he knows who he is and what role he is going to do in the unfolding of the salvific plan of God for humanity. Instead he says with all humility “I am not worthy even to untie the strap of his sandals” (Jn. 1:27) Since he was humble to accept his rightful place in the plan of God, then Jesus proclaims that St. John is the greatest and nothing can surpass him. He conquers this honor because above his traits and virtue, he is overwhelmingly humble.
Jesus, as we all know, is the perfect embodiment of this humility, for “…he did not deem equality with God” (Phil. 2:6) and the effect of humility and what it conquers is our own salvation. St. John because of his humility in following the will of God and faithfully submitting to it, conquered his high place in the heavens.
What about us brothers and sisters? Do we possess this humility? Or it’s always dominant in us the “sense of entitlement”? That since I am like this and like that; that I have finished and have acquired these things I am entitled to this. That God has the obligation to give me these blessings for I have been good as a servant. As long as we do not know how to humble ourselves in front of God and all his creatures we can never be true followers of Jesus. Simply put, humility in our day to day lives is about “thinking less of oneself” and treating others as great and valuable more than myself. And we may ask how about me and my needs? Then this is the time that faith and hope in God will come in. We solely depend on God’s generosity and providence in us. For we have a faithful God who will continue to nourish us and bless us every day of our lives.