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Thursday, 13 December 2012

John the Baptist and Perfection

Today's Gospel in the NO is from Matthew 11:11-15.

11Truly, 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.
12From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.
13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John;
14and if you are willing to accept it, he is Eli'jah who is to come.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Those who follow this blog know that this passage is one of my favourites from the Scriptures. Last year, a Jesuit priest told me that he did not believe that John the Baptist was the greatest of men. This priest was contradicting Christ Himself. Christ is telling us who John and and what we are to become.

Why did the Jesuit demean John? Because John was counter-cultural; he called people out of their comfort zones; he prepared the way for perfection.

Repentance must come before perfection.

John knew why he was on earth. To prepare people for the coming of Christ. His words used by the Church in Advent, allow us to see the depth of his love and commitment to Christ.  He is the Best Man to the Bridegroom.



Anita Moore said...

SuperT, the question is bound to come up: what about St. Joseph? How do we reconcile the statement of Jesus, Who cannot lie, to the greatness of the foster-father of Jesus and the spouse of the Blessed Virgin? Maybe you could tackle that one.

Henry Edwards said...

"Today's Gospel in the NO is from Matthew 11:11-15."

This sets off one of my alarms. If one observes in Holy Mass the memorial of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, then today's NO Gospel is instead Matthew 25:1-13.

Why is it the Novus Ordo way to generally ignore the sanctoral cycle, to the impoverishment of faith and liturgy?

Supertradmum said...

Henry Edwards, it breaks my heart, as I love all the old liturical calendars as well. I could have used the TLM who do cover that, but most of my readers are NO.

Supertradmum said...

PS I could do both....

Supertradmum said...

Anita, there is no Scriptural reference to the born holiness of St. Joseph and there is to John, being not conceived, but born without original sin.

St.Joseph both in the tradition of the Church and in the Early Church Fathers never referred to as perfect. In fact, he is overlooked until much later. St. Francis de Sales called him a pure man, with the virtues of Mary, which is not an infallible statement and could hardly be true, as she was the only person conceived without Original Sin. Again, Jesus is quite clear about the status of St. John the Baptist. As Catholics, we accept truth from Revelation, that is, the Scriptures, and from the interpretation of those, Tradition.

Private writings or interpretations are not infallible and are not the official teaching of the Church. Christ said something of St. John that he said of no other man and as Christ is God, I shall take His word over any saint.

The problem today is people are too enamoured with private revelation. This is an anti-intellectual and almost superstitious mind-set.

The Church,for example, did not declare Mary the Immaculate Conception because of Bernadette, but because of over a 1,000 years of belief if her unique status.

We have had no such movement of the Spirit within the Church regarding St. Joseph.

Supertradmum said...

Henry, did you see my posting on St. Lucy a few days ago? I do the saints early so that parents can prepare something if they are so inclined.

Supertradmum said...

Supertradmum said...

Henry, oops last two links were for you

Henry Edwards said...

Supertradmum, perhaps I did not make it clear that my reference was to the Gospel for the RM 3/e Mass of the Memorial of St. Lucy (Dec 13) in the NEW (OF) liturgical calendar.

And my "gripe" to which I alluded is this: Whereas the new 2002-2012 OF Roman missal is replete with Masses for the saints (with their own readings and collects)--in some ways richer than the 1962 EF missal--in the typical parish these saints in the proper of saints (and corresponding commons or votive Masses) in missal are completely ignored, as though priests were actually unaware of them Instead, in weekday parish liturgy they simply plod through the proper of time with its "sciptural travelogue" cycle of readings and daily collects.

Supertradmum said...

I did misunderstand you and you are correct. Why this happens, I do not know...laziness?

Henry Edwards said...

I suspect that there's more to it than mere "laziness", when parish liturgy is lacking the vertical dimension that use of the proper of saints (among other things). Isn't there a qualitative difference in the sounds of "the Mass of Tuesday of the whichever week in whatever time" and "The Mass of St. Whoever, Virgin and Martyr", the latter but not the former with especially selected propers and readings?

Supertradmum said...

I also suspect, and I do not mean to be cynical, that some priests just follow the homilies of the day in their little monthly books. It may be too much trouble for them to step outside the box. Indeed, what is in the NO Breviary for those days?