Brian’s Reflection: The Weekend, December 11, 2010
[ Advent III in the Western Christian Kalendar ]
Truly I tell you, among those born of women
no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
The Gospel called Matthew for Advent III RCL, Chap 11
Here is the full text if you would like to read it: http://www.io.com/~kellywp/YearA_RCL/Advent/AAdv3_RCL.html
Jesus’ point is clear here. There is no inferiorization of John the Baptist. Nor of women. Jesus deeply honours John as the Forerunner, the Announcer, the “one who come before”. And in no way is he denigrating women or the fact that we are all “born of women”.
Jesus is simply and clearly pointing out that being born into the “Kingdom of God” is a “new birth” in the Spirit of God. That when we step over into that Kingdom of Love, Justice, Compassion, of “loving one another as He loved us”, we are in a new dimension of Life. We no longer are just “born of woman” – “flesh” is the Biblical term - ; we have made contact with the Mystery of God and have entered a new dimension of Life, a new dimension of what it means to be Human . If we were Buddhists, we would say that we have been Enlightened. If we were Hindu, we would say that we have been reincarnated into a higher level of Life, closer to eternal Freedom. But it all means the same thing: we have been “quickened” ….. a new depth of Life has been revealed. In the Genesis “Creation Myth”, it is the moment when God breathes Life into the creature of dust.
We all start out fleeing to John the Baptist, drawn into the Wilderness for whatever reason. But at some moment, the Christ, the Presence of the Holy, “descends” upon us as the Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism by John. We discover the path to full Humanity, or it is revealed to us in some experience.
Every human being stands – perhaps many times - on the precipice of entering Full Humanity ….. like a baby bird fledging and gathering the courage to leap from the nest and fly ….. souring into “the Kingdom”.
Advent reminds us that we are jumping up and down on the edge of the nest, gazing out over the World, knowing that we are destined to fly.