Saint of the Day: St. John the Baptist – June 24
St. John the Baptist is the last of the prophets and the first of those to approach the Kingdom. He occupies a place of transition. Christ acknowledges him in a strange way in Luke 7:24-28:
- When the messengers of John had left, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. “What did you go out to the desert to see – a reed swayed by the wind?
- Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine garments? Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces.
- Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
- This is the one about whom scripture says: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.’
- I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Somehow the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John. The least are greater than this courageous prophet who spoke truth to power and was beheaded for his efforts. Aren’t those of the Kingdom not born of women? Isn’t John’s courage and faithfulness a model for all Christians? Christians are born again of water and the Holy Spirit. John announces the coming of the Lord and for all of the wonder and importance of this role, it is not as privileged as the least in the Kingdom of God.
The feast of St. John the Baptist is a time to reflect on the privilege and grace of our invitation to the Kindgom. In the earlier verses of this chapter, Jesus tells the the messengers of St. John to report to him what the signs of the Kingdom are: the blind see, the lame walk, the sick are cured.
Maybe it’s time to see where we are in the Kingdom.