Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Greatest Man Born of a Woman

Today is the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said,
Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11.11)
Today the Church honors this great man of whom the Church sings,
The memory of the righteous one is praiseworthy; but for you it is enough to be the witness of the Lord, O Forerunner; you have been truly revealed as greater than the prophets, for you were also found worthy to baptize in water Him Who was announced; therefore you fought most valiantly for the truth, joyfully proclaiming even to those in Hades that God had appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world, and granting us the great mercy. (Apolytikon of St John the Baptist)
Today the Church honors a man who says of himself,
There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. (Mark 1.7)
Today the Church celebrates the Divine Liturgy in honor of a man who said about God,
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3.30)
There is so much we can say about John the Baptist that I hesitate other than to say; he is a worthy model for every Christian life. When he was exalted, he lowered himself. When we was praised, he deflected all praise toward God. When he was honored, he humbled himself as not worthy of honor.

And yet…

WE grab all the glory we can get. WE demand to be exalted by our peers at work. WE claim all the credit for any accomplishment in our lives. WE honor ourselves and humble God and His Church with expressions like
  • GOD doesn’t need all that Gold……but we sure do enjoy it!
  • GOD doesn’t need money…but won’t stop until we have all of it!
  • GOD doesn’t want us spend all that money on His Church…but I sure do LOVE spending on me!

If we REALLY wanted to be great, we would become more like John the Baptist. Ironic that he didn’t want to be considered great, and yet he was. Something to think about today.

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