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John the Baptist

9 March, 20099 March, 2009 2 comments Thoughts on the Holy Land Thoughts on the Holy Land

In the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 3, we read of John the Baptist proclaiming the kingdom of God to crowds of people.  They could not resist his commanding voice.  People came from all over Judea and Jerusalem to be baptized by John in the Jordan River.  John was a tall and strong man, having fed on such things as locusts and wild honey most of his life.  His voice was strong and very commanding at times, but he could be gentle and caring as well.  People came daily to him for baptism.  He told each one, "I am baptizing you with water...but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.  I am not worthy to carry his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." 

John was a few months older than his cousin Jesus.  But, whenever their parents would get together for a visit, Jesus had been the dominant figure.  John would love to listen to his cousin tell parables.  Even at a young age, Jesus taught John many things about life and about His Father.  John would sit in rapt attention for hours, questioning little and listening intensely.

As John was baptizing one clear day, he saw Jesus walking towards him.  Jesus asked also for baptism as the others before Him had done.  John was baffled and said to his cousin, "I need to be baptized by you..."  Jesus told John that it should be done this way to fulfill the prophecies.  As John baptized his cousin, his Messiah, Jesus arose from the water and a voice from the heavens proclaimed, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."  Jesus and John looked at one another in total understanding.  Slowly, Jesus walked to the shore on His way towards the beginning of a new life and the start of a beautiful and sacred ministry.

As John the Baptist proclaimed repentence and the kingdom of God, so too are we called to proclaim His kingdom through our daily actions and through our faith.  John was strong both physically and spiritually.  In his gospel, Saint Matthew will tell us these words Our Lord spoke about His cousin, "...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."

What beautiful words these are which Jesus spoke to His disciples.  Except for Jesus Christ, no one is greater; no one has had more influence over others than John the Baptist.  However, the least in God's kingdom is greater than John.  This bears repeating, "...the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."  We are greater than John the Baptist.  We have the influence, the love and the faith that John the Baptist experienced if we only look inside oursevles.  Jesus loves each of us as much as He loved His cousin, John.  God has blessed each one of us with His gift of life.  Now, we must in turn do our part.  We must go forth and proclaim to others what Jesus has done in our lives and how His love has affected us.  We must share our experiences with others.  We must not be afraid to speak of God's love for us and how He has changed us.  Let us go forth into the world and speak openly of our beliefs, our faith and our love for God. 

He is asking each one of us to be bold and to step out in faith and in love.  He is asking each one of us to reach out to others that they also may be brought closer to His loving, sacred heart.  He graces us each day with His beauty through the world He created for us.  He restores us each time we go to Him for healing in the sacrament of reconciliation.  He graces us each day with His life through the holy sacrament of the Eucharist.  He graces us each day with His love through the creation of each other.  Go forth and spread the message of His love to the hearts of others.

Comments

  • LoriBy Lori 3222 Days Ago
    2 points    
    fascinating explanation! Very insightful thoughts about John the Baptist with important implications for how we choose to live our lives.






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