Thursday, December 14, 2023
Matthew 11:11 - 15
We possess what he announced
Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church
“…yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Who, me?
We might tend to feel sorry for poor John the Baptist. On the one hand, Jesus says he’s the greatest man ever born and then says that even the least of us is better than him. “Come on, Jesus! You know me! I’m not greater than him!”
In Bringing the Gospel of Matthew to Life: Insight and Inspiration, Scripture scholar George Martin wrote, “John stands at the threshold of the kingdom of heaven, announcing its arrival; those who are part of God’s reign, even the least significant of them, are greater than John because they possess what he announces… Even the least in the kingdom of heaven, those who barely sneak in, are greater than the greatest man who walked the earth before Jesus.”
How can we claim this greatness and live it? First, by accepting it, as he asks us to do in today’s Gospel. Even when we fear we’re failing in our faith life, when we have doubts, or when we feel attacked, we can pray that even when we feel we’re “the least,” we are great in Jesus’ eyes because we have believed.
Try this: The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary are traditionally prayed on Thursday. Pray it and meditate on the gifts Jesus gave us in these Mysteries. (If you only have time for one decade, consider the Holy Eucharist.)
In honor of Saint John of the Cross, pray his Prayer for Peace:
O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You. Let your mighty calmness reign in me. Rule me, O You, King of Gentleness, King of Peace. (From Manual of Prayers)