Gospel: Matthew 11:11-15
I tell you this: no one greater than John the Baptist has arisen from among the sons of women; and 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 is something to be conquered; and violent men seize it.
Up to the time of John, there was only prophesy: all the prophets and the law. And if you believe me, John is indeed that Elijah, whose coming was predicted. Let anyone with ears listen!
“Let anyone with ears listen!”
Our Gospel reading has given us a model of Christian Discipleship: John the Baptist. He was greatly praised by Jesus. What made him great is that he always points to the coming of the Savior. He always leads people to Jesus, teaching them repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation. He teaches them to transform their lives. Nevertheless, John never saw Jesus’ inauguration of the Kingdom of God. He was not able to see and witness Jesus’ miracles, healings, passion, death, resurrection and ascension. He was persecuted and beheaded.
True enough! The Incarnation marks the inauguration of the Kingdom of God here on earth. In the first reading Isaiah already prophesied:“I will help you, say the Lord; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel”. All these has been immortalized in John the Baptist.
To follow the example of John the Baptist is a challenge to everyone. He persevered in the faith. He continued preaching about Jesus. This is the message of Christmas: Jesus was born for us to be steadfast in our faith despite the many forms of resistance and violence, to preach the Good News of the Kingdom and to lead others to Jesus! Jesus, Emmanuel, God is al ways with us!
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