This Sunday’s Gospel speaks about our patron saint, John the Baptist. The Church sees him as one of the greatest intercessors. There are many ancient paintings that depict John at Mary’s side in heaven. Throughout the tradition of our liturgy, John’s name was held in high esteem and invoked in prayers such as the Confiteor (prior to Vatican II). He had many followers and would seem to have every reason to be proud, but his legacy is one of humility.
Throughout John’s preaching and life of penance, when people honored him, he insisted that one mightier than he is coming (Mark 1:7). At Jesus’ baptism, we see John’s humility when he tells Christ that he is not worthy to baptize him (Luke 3:16). In Sunday’s Gospel, we see John in prison. He sends out his followers with a message to Jesus to confirm that Jesus is indeed the Christ. Jesus acknowledges John’s life of deep humility when He says, “Among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).
As members of this school and parish community, we are called to live and to raise our children in the same humble service and radical faith that John displayed. When people ask us for the reason for our faith and actions, we should point to Jesus Christ. God willing, Christ will welcome us and our children into the kingdom of heaven when our time comes.