Having reconfirmed His identity to the imprisoned John the Baptist by performing the specific kinds of miraculous healing the prophet Isaiah predicted the Messiah would perform, Christ gives consolation to the John the Baptist and his followers.

Christ now reveals John’s identity to the crowd by describing what John is not. Rather than a cowardly double talker (a reed by the River Jordan that sways with every breeze), Christ’s rhetorical question reveals that John was courageous truth-teller. Rather than a soothsayer who makes money advising kings (soft robes in king’s houses), Christ’s question reveals that John was beholding to no man and lived an austere life of repentance in the harsh wilderness.

Defying common understanding, Christ confirms John the Baptist is more than a prophet. Using Scripture (Mal 3:1), Christ reveals that John is the long-awaited one who would prepare the way for the Messiah; of course, Christ is also making a veiled proclamation to the crowd that He is the Messiah. Christ affirms that none of the men of Old Testament surpasses John the Baptist; this is stunning, for this puts John in the same category as the patriarchs and major prophets (Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Elijah). The crowds who have been baptized by John rejoice while the Pharisees and lawyers reject God’s compassionate outreach through the Baptist.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of Man, Christ compassionately reassures the imprisoned John the Baptist that He is indeed the Messiah. Son of God, Christ has a sweeping view of all Salvation History, knowing the impact and relative importance of all the prophets; He confirms the Kingdom of Heaven.  Divine Prophet, Christ reveals that Old Testament prophecies are being fulfilled through John the Baptist and His Incarnation. The Messiah, Christ confirms that He is the one long revealed in Scripture.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The amazing reality of Christ’s words often go by unnoticed. Reflect on Christ’s assertion that He knows the hierarchy of Heaven. Be awed.

2) At the core of the crisis of civilization is the crisis of manly virtue (from the Latin vir, meaning man). During Advent, pray for Christ to help you grow in the manly virtues of St. John the Baptist; courage, unshakable in truth, sacrifice, austerity, repentance, etc.

3) Like the Pharisees and lawyers, many men today cling to worldly beliefs which blind them to the Truth of Christ. During Advent, pray for Christ to remove your own doubts and the doubts of others so that all men can find salvation in Christ.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently