Friday, February 24, 2017

The Greatest Man

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself what makes a great man. Is it superior genius like Albert Einstein? Is greatness defined by men of extreme wealth like Bill Gates? We all have our own definition of what makes a man (or woman) great.

Today the Church commemorates the man of whom Jesus said, “Among those born of women there has risen no one greater.” This man suffered for Jesus sake and the truth. His humility was never at question since he lived in the wilderness and ate wild locust and honey. When people called him great he said, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.” (Matthew 3.11) This great man had a following of disciples, but sent them away to follow Jesus saying, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3.30) In every way this man was the greatest and should be an example to us in our journey to know Christ and become more like Christ in our lives.

His name is John the Baptist and today we honor the second and third time the Church recovered his head. (pictured above) John’s devotion to God and truth was so great that he was beheaded by King Herod. Take a moment and read the reading for this feast and ask yourself, “If this is who Jesus calls great, why am I not living like this man?”

Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:2-15 (RSV) - At that time, when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me." As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who shall prepare your way before you.' Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has been coming violently and men of violence take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

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