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From: Matthew 11:11-15

The Mission of John the Baptist. Jesus’ Reply

(Jesus spoke to the crowds,) [11] “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. [12] From the days of John
the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence, and men
of violence take it by force. [13] For all the prophets and the law prophesied
until John; [14] and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.
[15] He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


11. With John the Old Testament is brought to a close and we are on the
threshold of the New. The Precursor had the honor of ushering Christ in, ma-
king Him known to men. God had assigned him the exalted mission of prepa-
ring His contemporaries to hear the Gospel. The Baptist’s faithfulness is recog-
nized and proclaimed by Jesus. The praise he received is a reward for his humi-
lity: John, realizing what his role was, had said, “He must increase, but I must
decrease” (John 3:30). St. John the Baptist was the greatest in the sense that
he had received a mission unique and incomparable in the context of the Old
Testament. However, in the Kingdom of Heaven (the New Testament) inaugura-
ted by Christ, the divine gift of grace makes the least of those who faithfully re-
ceive it greater than the greatest in the earlier dispensation. Once the work of
our redemption is accomplished, God’s grace will also be extended to the just
of the Old Alliance. Thus, the greatness of John the Baptist, the Precursor and
the last of the prophets, will be enhanced by the dignity of being made a son
of God.

12. “The Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence”: once John the Baptist an-
nounces that the Christ is already come, the powers of Hell redouble their des-
perate assault, which continues right through the lifetime of the Church (cf.
Ephesians 6:12). The situation described here seems to be this: the leaders
of the Jewish people, and their blind followers, were waiting for the Kingdom of
God the way people wait for a rightful legacy to come their way; but while they
rest on the laurels of the rights and rewards they think their race entitles them
to, others, the men of violence (literally, attackers) are taking it, as it were, by
force, by fighting the enemies of the soul — the world, the flesh and the devil.

“This violence is not directed against others. It is a violence used to fight your
own weaknesses and miseries, a fortitude, which prevents you from camou-
flaging your own infidelities, a boldness to own up to the faith even when the
environment is hostile” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 82).

This is the attitude of those who fight their passions and do themselves vio-
lence, thereby attaining the Kingdom of Heaven and becoming one with Christ.
As Clement of Alexandria puts it: “The Kingdom of Heaven does not belong to
those who sleep and who indulge all their desires, but to those who fight
against themselves” (”Quis Dives Salvetur”, 21).

14. John the Baptist is Elijah, not in person, but by virtue of his mission (cf.
Matthew 17:10-13; Mark 9:10-12).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

5 posted on 12/12/2012 9:25:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

First reading Isaiah 41:13-20 ©
I, the Lord, your God,
I am holding you by the right hand;
I tell you, ‘Do not be afraid,
I will help you.’
Do not be afraid, Jacob, poor worm,
Israel, puny mite.’
I will help you – it is the Lord who speaks –
the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.
See, I turn you into a threshing-sled,
new, with doubled teeth;
you shall thresh and crush the mountains,
and turn the hills to chaff.
You shall winnow them and the wind will blow them away,
the gale will scatter them.
But you yourself will rejoice in the Lord,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
The poor and needy ask for water, and there is none,
their tongue is parched with thirst.
I, the Lord, will answer them,
I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.
I will make rivers well up on barren heights,
and fountains in the midst of valleys;
turn the wilderness into a lake,
and dry ground into waterspring.
In the wilderness I will put cedar trees,
acacias, myrtles, olives.
In the desert I will plant juniper,
plane tree and cypress side by side;
so that men may see and know,
may all observe and understand
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Psalm Psalm 144:1,9-13 ©
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.
I will give you glory, O God my king,
  I will bless your name for ever.
How good is the Lord to all,
  compassionate to all his creatures.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
  and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
  and declare your might, O God,
to make known to men your mighty deeds
  and the glorious splendour of your reign.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Yours is an everlasting kingdom;
  your rule lasts from age to age.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia!
Come, Lord, with your peace
that we may rejoice in your presence with sincerity of heart.
Or cf.Is45:8
Alleluia, alleluia!
Send victory like a dew, you heavens,
  and let the clouds rain it down.
Let the earth open and bring forth the saviour.

Gospel Matthew 11:11-15 ©
Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is. Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm. Because it was towards John that all the prophecies of the prophets and of the Law were leading; and he, if you will believe me, is the Elijah who was to return. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen!’

6 posted on 12/12/2012 9:29:11 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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