Once again today we are reminded of the power of the lowly. Jesus extols the tremendous person that is John the Baptizer. But in praising John the Baptizer, Jesus focuses the attention of each one of us on our own baptism, on her own unique mission, the one given to us by God.
A careful look at the life of John the Baptizer demonstrates John understood in a profound way the universal call each of us receives from God. How easy it would have been for him, with so many crowds gathering around him, so many people enamored by his call to conversion, to become someone he was not. How easy it would have been, for him to taken upon himself the mantle of Messiah.
But John understands who he is. John understands the source of his dignity, and the source of the effectiveness of his words in the hearts of others. Put simply, John understands that he is not God. In Jesus reminds us that this very same human dignity is given to each one of us. Jesus reminds us that our words to can have tremendous power for conversion if uttered in the Spirit.
It can be hard to believe in our inherent dignity when we hear the strong words of the first reading. In it, the people of God are referred to as a maggot and a worm. It is a reminder to us that even when we do not live up to the promise and hope for human dignity, even when we are not at our best, God still loves us and seeks to become a part of our lives. We continue to celebrate the season of Advent, but us hope that we might be open to God’s continued presence in the lives of each one of us.