Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
The greatness that Jesus ascribes to John the Baptist in today’s Gospel reading is not the sort of greatness that we might expect. It is not the greatness of one who cures or provides for those who come to him for help. No, John’s greatness lies merely in the one thing that he always does so well: he points to Jesus. The Kingdom of heaven that Jesus describes is actually Jesus himself, and the preparation of John and all the prophets before him makes them ready to welcome that Kingdom when it starts to break forth.
However, this Kingdom is so full of greatness that even the greatest in our midst will seem like worms or maggots in comparison with those who enjoy the vision of God. As Isaiah promises that streams will spring up in the desert and all hardship will become ease, so the life of faith that we receive in the waters of baptism strengthens us to see Jesus, the comforter, face-to-face. If we truly wish to lighten our own burdens and those of the whole world, we must prepare for and accept the life of God that comes to us through belief in Jesus Christ. As we look forward to the coming of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in its fullness, let us receive the grace to always point away from ourselves to the One who can cure all our ills and comfort us during our time of need. If we manage to do so, we will see the King of all heaven coming to live with us forever.