Scripture: 1st Reading: Is41,13-20; Resp. Psalm: Ps145,1,9-13; Gosp. Accl.: Is45,8; Gospel: Mt11,11-15
The Lord God today promised to take away the shame of His people. He promised to make them victorious again. He promised to lift up their hand. This promise and the others to follow came at a time the people had reached a very low point in their existence.
The enemy had overrun them and taken them into captivity. Yahweh saw all these. Yahweh took note. Yahweh remembered His holy covenant and decided to act on behalf of His people.
God promised to remember the needy. He promised not to forsake them but to reveal Himself to them.
The wilderness and arid lands that were metaphors for lifelessness, dryness, non sustainability of life, would become fruitful again. They would again become productive and able to sustain life and bring joy back into the lives of the people.
Yahweh also promised to remember the poor. He promised to come to them as Saviour, Protector and Redeemer. The downtrodden would again be lifted up. He would show His closeness once again by His saving interventions on behalf of His people.
In the fullness of time, God sent a voice to announce the dawn of these promises to His people. This voice was the one our Lord testified to in today's gospel. That voice was John the Baptist. Our Lord today publicly declared that up till that time, no one born of women was greater than John.
On the other hand, the least in the kingdom that our Lord came to establish, that is, the least of those who would come to faith in Him, was greater than John. This was because He was the fulfillment that the Old Testament pointed to. John was the last prophet of the Old Testament. The establishment of the New Testament and new reality of salvation in His blood would put a definitive end to the old dispensation of the law.
Our Lord, when He first appeared on earth, brought about the fulfillment of the promise contained in Isaiah's prophecy in today's first reading. He took away the shame, that is, the sinful deeds of the people, brought "the desert" and aridity in the inner lives of the people to an end and restored them back to their God.
St. John of the Cross used His entire life to make this truth known. At a young age, he committed himself to a deep understanding and awareness of the intricate workings of the inner life. He became such an outstanding doctor of souls and master of the spiritual life.
St. John of the Cross brought about the reform of his Carmelite religious Institute that consequently influenced and was fundamental to the renewal of the Church. May he intercede for us.
Let us pray: "O God, who gave the priest Saint John an outstanding dedication to perfect self-denial and love of the Cross, grant that, by imitating him closely at all times, we may come to contemplate for eternity your glory." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.